Paternity leave and playing golf

 

Sir, – While the initiative by the Minister to increase parental leave is to be greatly welcomed, the reporting on the details of the Cabinet subcommittee discussion is worrying (“New parents to get two weeks of paid leave in this year’s budget”, News, April 6th).

The anonymous Government source’s claim that men are using paternity leave entitlements to play golf is as outrageous as it is unsubstantiated. Such outdated and sexist statements have no place in any governmental discussion.

It is notable that Ireland has lagged so far behind international best practice in this area that we only have anecdotal whispers instead of hard data, yet they find their way into policy discussions.

In addition, the lack of focus on the reasons for the low uptake is concerning. Instead we are asked to believe that men just can’t be bothered.

The Nordic countries, which are many years ahead of Ireland in making a meaningful degree of paternity leave available, have conclusively demonstrated the benefits of such leave in building stronger father-child bonding and bringing about a shared model of parenting. On this basis many of these countries have provided dedicated, and mandatory, paternity leave entitlements well in excess of the Irish case.

I would suggest a more beneficial use of Government time would be to educate itself properly on this matter and develop policy accordingly. – Yours, etc,

ALBERT WINSTON,

Dublin 11.