Two weeks of paid paternity leave to be made law

Fathers will get €230 a week as part of Family Leave Bill being brought to Cabinet

Previously only mothers were entitled to statutory leave. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Previously only mothers were entitled to statutory leave. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

 

The Government will today agree to legislate to allow for fathers to take two weeks’ paid paternal leave.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald will bring a memo to Cabinet with the support of the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton confirming commitments made in Budget 2016.

The new statutory paternity leave will be paid at a rate of €230 a week, the same as maternity benefit and based on the same PRSI contribution requirements.

The legislation, which will be introduced by way of the Family Leave Bill, will also allow fathers to take the leave at any stage within 26 weeks of the birth.

Until now, Ireland has been behind the majority of European countries in its exclusion of paternity leave from employment law.

New fathers typically used days from their annual leave, but this could be granted or denied at the employer’s discretion.

From September fathers will have the option to apply for two weeks’ paid paternity leave following the birth of their child.

The Labour Party has also proposed introducing three months’ parental leave if re-elected. The new benefit would be in addition to paternity and maternity leave and could be split between the two parents.