New parental leave scheme.
Laois TD and Minister Charlie Flanagan has co-announced a new parental leave scheme which it is claimed will allow some 60,000 parents new paid parental leave and benefit from this November.
Under the plan parents of new babies will have access to two weeks leave each – expected to rise to seven weeks each over the next three years. New legislation also aims to enable male same-sex couples to receive adoptive leave and benefit.
Parents in employment or self-employment will be able to avail of the new parental leave scheme. Ultimately, it is hoped that parents will be able to benefit from seven weeks leave each under the scheme as it develops incrementally over the next three years.
Minister for Justice and Equality Flanagan secured the approval of Government for the priority drafting legislation to introduce the leave entitlement. He welcomed the scheme as practical support for working parents.
“This is an important support for working parents in Ireland. The General Scheme of the Bill, which I am publishing, provides for paid parental leave for each parent of a child under one, whether employed or self-employed. The leave will initially be set at two weeks, increasing on a phased basis over the next three years.
"This is in addition to existing maternity, paternity and adoptive leave entitlements. It will provide working parents with further opportunity to spend more time with their baby in its crucial first year of development.
"With the introduction of this Bill, we are delivering on our commitment to increase paid parental leave in the first year of a child’s life. This is a practical measure to benefit parents and children. Helping working parents to have more flexibility and greater choice in how they balance their professional and family lives has positive benefits for families and for society as a whole,” said Minister Flanagan.
Under the scheme, both parents will have access to two weeks each (non-transferrable) benefit for babies born from this November, which will be paid at the same rate as Maternity Benefit and Paternity Benefit - €245 per week. It is intended to incrementally increase this to up to seven weeks parental leave over the next three years in line with Government announcement for Budget 2019.
Reacting to the publication of the Parental Leave and Benefit Bill 2019 today, Sven Spollen-Behrens, Small Firms Association Director, stated: “The proposed legislation correctly identifies the need to improve family leave within the first year. Nevertheless, given the current skill shortages small businesses are struggling to find replacement staff and the proposals in this Bill will place greater administration burden and more confusing laws on the country’s small firms.