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Unplanned pregnancy? Talking to a counsellor can help

Pregnancy & Work

Many pregnant women worry about how their pregnancy will impact on their education or their position in the workplace.  If you are concerned about how you will balance your family life and career, it’s important to remember that there are a number of supports available to help.

Pregnancy & Education

If you are still in full-time education in school or college you are likely to be very anxious about how a pregnancy will affect your education and future opportunities. Unplanned pregnancy doesn’t mean the end of your studies – there is a lot of help available to keep you in education or to return to your studies in the future.  

See the booklet ‘Information for Young Parents in Education’ for information on young people in education and training during and after pregnancy.  It gives information on financial supports, schemes and grants to help young mothers back into education and information on childcare:

 http://treoir.ie/PDF-documents/y_p_edu.pdf

Pregnancy & Work 

All working women in Ireland (including casual workers) are entitled to a basic period of maternity leave from employment, regardless of how long you have been working for the organisation or the number of hours you work. You are entitled to 26 weeks’ maternity leave together with 16 weeks additional unpaid maternity leave. You must give your employer at least 4 weeks’ written notice before the maternity leave is due to start.

At that time of notification, a pregnant employee must have produced to her employer a medical or other appropriate certificate confirming the pregnancy and specifying the expected week of commencement of maternity leave.

For more information, visit the Citizens Information Website:
http://www.citizensinformation.ie/categories/employment/employment-rights-and-conditions/leave-and-holidays/maternity_leave

Workplace Discrimination relating to Pregnancy or Parenthood

The Maternity Protection Act, the Parental Leave Act and the Employment Equality Acts protect women from discrimination on the basis of their pregnancy or status as a parent.

If you feel that you are being discriminated against because of a pregnancy or your decision to become a parent, the Equality Authority can give you information and advice.

You can make a complaint to the Equality Tribunal about workplace discrimination / pregnancy related dismissal or to a Rights Commissioner using the Rights Commissioner complaint form under the Maternity Protection Acts 1994-2004 (pdf). (although you cannot take both cases: you must decide to take the case under either the Unfair Dismissals legislation or the Employment legislation)

If you have been dismissed due to a matter connected with your pregnancy or for claiming your rights under maternity leave legislation you can refer the matter to a Rights Commissioner or to the Employment Appeals Tribunal.