Parents to receive 5 days leave to look after unwell children

Carers will also be entitled to annual unpaid leave under plans to be brought to Cabinet

Carers and parents of younger children will be able to take five days of unpaid leave a year to look after people in their care who become unwell, under plans to be brought to Cabinet this week.

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman will seek cabinet approval for the outline of a new Bill on work life balance, which will also extend the period when time taken off work for breastfeeding can be taken.

The legislation – the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill – is being brought forward to give effect to an EU work-life balance directive which has to be transposed by August 2nd this year.

Under the new rules, which will amend the parental leave act 1998, parents of children up to the age of 12 and carers will be able to take five days of unpaid leave a year, per employee, on top of existing entitlements.


Parents and carers will also be able to request flexible working arrangements for caring purposes.

The act will also remedy anomalies to the current legislation, a Department spokesman said, including making provisions to ensure an entitlement to maternity leave for a transgender man who has obtained a gender recognition certificate and subsequently gives birth.

The bill will also allow time to be taken off from work to breastfeed every day for a longer period. Currently, this time can be taken for six months, but it will be extended to two years.

The legislation will ultimately make provision for a Government commitment to introduce paid leave for victims of domestic violence, but the details of this are being worked on and will not be brought to Cabinet on Wednesday – instead being introduced later as a committee stage amendment.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast