Sunday 4 December 2016

Teachers 'punished' for difficult pregnancies, claims ASTI

Published 10/04/2015 | 02:30

Mairead Wilson, ASTI Stillorgan Branch, at the ASTI conference at The Inec, Killarney yesterday. Photo: Eamonn Keogh
Mairead Wilson, ASTI Stillorgan Branch, at the ASTI conference at The Inec, Killarney yesterday. Photo: Eamonn Keogh

TEACHERS are calling for pregnancy-related illness to be treated separately to other illnesses and not be counted as "sick days".

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Due to changes introduced in the Public Service Sick Leave Scheme, effective since September 2014, a pregnancy-related illness now counts towards a teacher's total sick leave allowance. Teachers are entitled to six-months sick leave in any four-year period, made up of a full pay and half pay element.

But ASTI members say this is an equality issue and women are being "punished" for having difficult pregnancies.

Mother-of-one Mairead Wilson, who has suffered two miscarriages, said she felt compelled to speak about her most private anguish at the ASTI annual convention in Killarney.

The south Dublin-based teacher was forced to take 18 weeks unpaid leave following the birth of her son, who was 12 weeks premature.

"If I'm lucky enough to get pregnant again and get to the point of viability then it means bed rest so I can hold on to the baby," she added.

But she is worried it will mean she will be forced into unpaid leave again.

Irish Independent

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