The pandemic has reinforced the need for progressive change in the area of paid leave for victims and survivors of domestic abuse and domestic violence. I am sure the Minister will be aware that yesterday National University of Ireland Galway, NUIG, launched the university's domestic violence leave policy. It is a really good piece of work and I recommend that the Minister take a look at it and engage with some of the people involved. His colleague attended the launch with me yesterday. I thank, in particular, Nata Duvvury, Sinéad Wynne and Daniel O'Hara, who were central to the creation and publication of this policy. I thank also the people within the trade union group in NUIG who worked in partnership with management and ensured that this was brought forward. It is very important we legislate for this. I listened to the Minister's Cabinet colleague talk about how progressive and fantastic it was that NUIG was leading the way, how wonderful it was that it was taking the lead on this and how he would like to see it established in other higher education institutes. It is that kind of commentator-style behaviour on the part of the Government, almost as if this is not within its gift or power to do, that I think people find a little hard to take at times.
As the Minister will be aware, our party leader, Deputy McDonald, and I tabled legislation in the form of an amendment to the Organisation of Working Time Act to provide for ten days' paid statutory leave for victims and survivors of domestic abuse. I do not think there is any disagreement between us about the necessity for legislation. I think we fully agree on that. I think there might be a slight disagreement between us about the timing. I think we should progress this quickly. I do not think there is any need - or any excuse - for further delay in this area. An Teachta McDonald and I brought forward the legislation because we had consulted with stakeholders, campaign groups and victims and survivors. We were in receipt of a huge amount of correspondence in the immediate aftermath of the introduction of that legislation from people who really wanted to see it happen: the trade union movement, employers and victims and survivors, who contacted us individually to say they really wanted to see some progress in this area.
I sometimes doubt that the Government is serious about this. I had that doubt yesterday when I attended virtually the launch at NUIG. Now we see Danske Bank, in conjunction with the Financial Services Union, and NUIG, in consultation with the women's studies centre, the trade union group and HR, moving ahead and the Government not moving at the same pace. That is regrettable. The text of this Topical Issue matter refers to "the need to provide a statutory entitlement" to paid domestic violence leave. We agree on that. We do not need to discuss the need for it; we know there is a need for it. What I want to hear from the Minister is whether he will work with me to progress the legislation I have introduced or indeed whether progress can be made in some other way.
While I am on my feet, there is a Bill before the Seanad that is effectively a carbon copy of the Bill I introduced in that it is an amendment to the Organisation of Working Time Act. It relates to leave for early bereavement in pregnancy. That Bill is being taken by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. I wonder, therefore, whether a Bill which is essentially the same has fallen between two stools and whether that is why progress is not happening. Perhaps it would be better if it were moved to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. I am not sure. I would welcome the Minister's view on that.