THE Government is backing the UK in a landmark maternity-leave action brought by a British woman who became a mother through a surrogate.
This morning the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will be asked to give a preliminary ruling in the action involving the woman who had a child through a surrogate in 2011 but was refused maternity leave by her employer.
The employer offered the woman a career break as well as reduced hours and unpaid leave – but refused maternity leave.
The issue of whether mothers who have a baby via a surrogate are covered by the 1992 Pregnant Worker's Directive must be decided by the ECJ.
The Irish Independent has learned that Ireland, which has no laws on surrogacy, will make submissions supportive of the UK government's stance.
The Irish Government is expected to argue that such women are not entitled to the same rights and protections as birth and adoptive mothers.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter is currently preparing a new bill that will address certain aspects of the law on surrogacy.