Parents set to benefit from additional two weeks’ paid parental leave under new scheme

By James Reynolds

Up to 60,000 parents annually are set to benefit from an additional two weeks’ paid parental leave under a new scheme.

A draft General Scheme of the Parental Leave and Benefit Bill 2019 was presented to Government last week and approval was granted for its priority drafting.

Houses aerial

Under the new scheme, all new parents in employment or self-employment will be entitled to receive two weeks paid parental leave during their baby’s first year from November.

Parents who avail of this new scheme will receive two weeks’ pay of €245 per week which is the same rate as the Maternity Benefit and Paternity Benefit.

Over the next three years the government is planning to extend the scheme up to seven weeks.

The new bill which is said to benefit up to 60,000 parents a year, will also enable male same-sex couples to receive adoptive leave and benefit.

Announcing the scheme, Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty said: “Parents, children and society will all benefit from the introduction of this scheme, children now have the opportunity to spend more time with both parents.

“Crucially this new benefit is non-transferable and is available on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis.

“The evidence shows that when fathers take a more significant and meaningful share in the parenting of their children the individual family benefits - and so does wider society, as by encouraging more fathers to take time off, we are in a position to challenge the existing culture regarding work and gender”.

Equality, Immigration and Integration Minister David Stanton TD said: “The Bill also proposes to take the final steps needed to enable male same-sex couples to receive adoptive leave and benefit. This is further progress towards ensuring equality for all families.

“I look forward to introducing the legislation into the Houses of the Oireachtas, once drafted, and hope that colleagues on all sides of the Houses will work with me in ensuring that we can implement this important legislation at the earliest possible time.”

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