Wednesday, 10 November 2021
Parental Bereavement Leave (Amendment) Bill 2021: First Stage
As my colleague, an Teachta Cronin, has outlined, this is legislation we dearly hope no person will ever have occasion to avail of. We know, as I do personally, that there is no greater loss for parents than the loss of a child. In circumstances where a person is grieving the loss of a child, we should not add economic difficulties to their stress.
As Deputy Cronin outlined, the vast majority of employers will behave decently. The Bill gives people comfort in knowing they will not rely on grace and favour arrangements and there will be legal protection for taking time off work, not only to allow them to grieve but also to attend to matters that need to be addressed during that time. People will not have to be concerned about asking for time off because the Oireachtas will have made provision for granting them time off work as a matter of course.
In an ideal world, we would not need this legislation. I trust that many employers will think this is not necessary and that they would, of course, always look after an employee or worker in such circumstances, but it does not always happen like that. This Bill will give workers the comfort of knowing that they have a guarantee of some time off in such circumstances, not only to grieve but also to attend to matters that require their attention at a very sad time in their life.
I hope this legislation will enjoy full cross-party support. I do not think there is a Member in the House who would object to it. It is a short Bill and if it needs amendment or further debate, we will be more than happy to work with all parties on all sides to ensure we get it through and do this small thing for parents.