herald

Wednesday 13 November 2019

Up to 60,000 get extra paid fortnight with baby

Minister Charlie Flanagan
Minister Charlie Flanagan

Up to 60,000 working parents will be entitled to an extra fortnight of paid leave with their newborns from this week.

A law that boosts their time off in the first year after the birth or adoption of a child is set to come into force by Friday.

President Michael D Higgins is set to rubberstamp legislation that will grant the extra leave at the social welfare rate of €245 a week for both parents.

It means the amount of paid leave available to mothers during the first year of their child's life will rise from 26 weeks to 28. A father's entitlement will increase from two weeks to four.

Parents of newborns can take the leave at any time during the first year of their child's life.

Wage

The benefit will be available to workers and the self-employed.

But there is no obligation on their employer to top it up to match their full wage.

A Department of Justice spokesperson said the bill is currently with the president for sign off and will be in place by Friday. The new rules mean the leave entitlements available to parents are now:

  • A total of 26 weeks' maternity leave for mothers (of which two weeks must be taken before birth) plus two weeks' parental leave during the first year.
  • Mothers can also take 16 weeks' unpaid maternity leave.
  • Two weeks' paternity leave for fathers to be taken within six months of birth or adoption, plus the extra two weeks during the first year.
  • Parents can take 22 weeks of unpaid parental leave for children up to 12, or for children up to 16 with a serious illness or disability.
  • They will be able to take up to 26 weeks' unpaid leave from September 1 next year.
  • Adopting parents will get the extra fortnight on top of 24 weeks' paid adoptive leave. They are also entitled to take 16 weeks' unpaid leave.

Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan has estimated that up to 60,000 people could benefit from the scheme in a year.

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