Surge in payments of parent’s benefit

Some 7,500 parents have availed of the €245 weekly payment since parent’s leave was increased from two to five weeks in April

The Department of Social Protection has confirmed that the payments since the start of April  have amounted to €2.6m after they were awarded to 7,724 parents.  Photograph: Getty Images

The Department of Social Protection has confirmed that the payments since the start of April have amounted to €2.6m after they were awarded to 7,724 parents. Photograph: Getty Images

 

There has been a surge in parents seeking parent’s benefit after leave entitlements were extended by three weeks last month.

More than 7,500 parents have availed of the €245-per-week payment since parent’s leave was increased to five weeks from the previous two at the start of April.

The Department of Social Protection has confirmed that payments since then have amounted to €2.6 million after they were awarded to 7,724 parents.

In contrast just 702 parents availed of parent’s benefit in April 2020.

In total there have been 12,581 payments awarded since the start of the year compared to 15,729 for the whole of 2020.

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys said the figures show that “many parents are availing of the opportunity to spend a longer period of quality time with their new-born child”.

“I am also reminding parents that this extension applies retrospectively, meaning every parent who has already availed of the two weeks leave will be able to take an extra three weeks paid leave.”

As part of Budget 2021, parent’s leave was increased from two weeks to five weeks per parent in respect of children born on or after November 1st, 2019.

The move to extend parent’s leave by three weeks was first flagged by Government last summer as mothers who gave birth just before and during the pandemic sought extra maternity leave provision. Campaigners had sought an extra three months maternity leave.

Parent’s leave is open to both mothers and fathers.