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Image / Agenda / Breaking Stories

Call to immediately enact legislation for extended Parental Leave


By Jennifer McShane
26th Jan 2021
Call to immediately enact legislation for extended Parental Leave

The Government has already committed to increasing paid Parent’s Leave from two weeks to five weeks for each parent of all children born or adopted on or after 1 Nov 2019. However, this has not yet been enacted. The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) says action is needed now

Back in early December last year, it announced that paid parent’s leave will be extended from two weeks to five weeks. Under the new proposals, each parent will be given an additional three weeks leave, and the period in which it can be taken will be extended to the first two years after the birth or adoptive placement of a child.

The Cabinet also approved the inclusion of provisions to amend the Adoptive Leave Act 1995 which will enable married male same-sex adopting couples to avail of adoptive leave. The provisions will also allow all adopting couples to choose who should take the leave.

The legislation was due to be introduced in the new year but it has not been enacted as yet.

The NWCI has launched an online campaign to highlight the issue and said there can’t afford to be a further wait on it – the support is needed now.

“Women and families are in a desperate situation during the Covid-19 crisis and are facing huge challenges in combining working with minding their children. Many women are at the end of their tether and need your support,” they said in a statement.  “We need action now to urgently help women and families who are struggling.”

“In many cases, women have given birth without a partner present, and faced into motherhood without family or professional support. The closure of schools, early years and childcare services has compounded these difficulties, with some women losing their jobs due to a lack of childcare. Women cannot afford to wait any longer.”

Last year, it was reported that it might take up to April this year to reflect the change in policy due to the Department of Social Protection needing to update their IT systems, but the policy must get enacted first.

The NWCI is encouraging the public and women, in particular, to write to TDs today to highlight the urgency for action, as well as the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman.

You can write to your local TD using the form here on the NWCI website.