Parental leave increased by month
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said Shatter said parental leave was very important because it gave parents an 'equal role in the caring of children'. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times
The entitlement to unpaid parental leave has been increased by a month from 14 to 18 weeks, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter announced today.
Mr Shatter today signed the changes into law giving effect to a 2010 EU directive allowing parents over four months of leave. Today was the EU deadline for the regulation to be enacted.
The regulation will also give parents a right to request a change in working hours for a set period on return from parental leave. However employers are not required to grant it, but under the regulation they must consider it.
“It is important that we support parents of young children in the difficult balancing act of caring for a young family and working,” Mr Shatter said in a statement.
Mr Shatter said the leave was very important because it gave parents an “equal role in the caring of children” and helped to break down “stereotypes about child care”.
He hoped it would “encourage and enable working women to remain in the workforce after they have children”.
Parents can avail of the leave for each child under eight, but are limited to 18 weeks per year if they have more than one child (except in the case of twins or triplets).
Both parents have equal rights to the leave which cannot be transferred between them, unless they work for the same employer.