You may have noticed maternity and parental entitlements popping up in the news of late. That’s because the Irish government is attempting to improve the work-life balance of working parents.
As recently as September 1st, the Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019 increased unpaid parental leave from 18 weeks to 22 weeks with a further four weeks becoming available from September 1st 2020.
Since then one of the most notable family-friendly entitlements of recent years has been confirmed and will come into effect on November 1st.
The Parent’s Leave and Benefit Bill 2019 (the Bill) will provide for two weeks’ paid parent’s leave for each parent of a child who is born, or adopted, from November 1st 2019.
The Bill provides that the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection will make the associated weekly benefit payment (currently €245).
How it works
Under the new entitlement, both parents will be entitled to take two weeks’ paid leave for any child who is born, or adopted, from November 1st 2019.
Parent’s leave will be subject to the following conditions:
- Parent’s leave will only be available to employees in the first year following the birth or placement of the child.
- Parents will not be entitled to transfer any or all of their paid parent’s leave entitlement to one another.
Will more fathers use parent’s leave?
One objective of the Bill is to encourage more fathers to take time off to care for young children. Whether this objective is achieved remains to be seen. As the Bill doesn’t impose any requirement on employers to provide a salary top-up, family finances will likely dictate whether both parents will be in a position to avail of the new parent’s leave and benefit.
While working parents will welcome the new entitlement, the challenge for employers will be to manage the record-keeping requirements that accompany the increased range of family-related leave options.
We’ve already mentioned the Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019 which came into effect on September 1st. Parent’s leave will add to a list of family-friendly employee entitlements that already includes:
- Maternity leave and benefit
- Paternity leave and benefit
- Adoptive leave and benefit
- Unpaid parental leave (recently increased by four weeks)
As an employer, you need to understand your new obligations. Any existing documentation you have on employee entitlements will also need to be updated.
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