The extended leave will be available to parents of children born after November 1, 2019
The Cabinet has approved a three-week extension of parental leave for parents of new babies born during the pandemic.
The Minister for Children, Roderic O'Gorman, made the announcement during a briefing yesterday evening, saying that parents have had a particularly difficult time during lockdown measures.
“This is a measure to recognise to some extent the particular challenges that mothers and parents have faced during the Covid-19 crisis,” he said.
“We are acknowledging that maternity leave was a difficult period for parents and others in the context of the Covid crisis, and the supports that were traditionally available, both official and the ability to engage with grandparents and friends, just wasn’t doable during that time.”
The proposal will see an extension of paid parental leave from two weeks to five weeks and will be considered part of the Budget 2021 process.
The additional leave will be paid at the rate of €245 per week for three weeks and will be available to parents of new babies born after November 1, 2019.
The three-week extension will be available to both mothers and fathers and will take effect when the budget 2021 process is completed in November.
Further measures needed
The National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) have voiced their support for the new proposal but have called for further measures to be taken.
NWCI director Orla O’Connor said that because the extended leave won’t come in until November 2020, “it will not retain links between women and the workplace".
“In many cases, women gave birth without a partner or loved one present, and faced into motherhood without family or professional support,” she explained.
“They also could not access the many support groups that provide critical support when becoming a new mum.
“This is why extending maternity benefit was so critical for new mothers and this measure does not go far enough to meet the needs that new mothers have raised with NWCI since the start of the Covid crisis.”
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