26th January, 2016
Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Justice and Equality and Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, New Communities, Culture and Drugs Strategy, today announced that the Government has approved their proposals for the necessary legislative amendments to family leave legislation to allow for the introduction of 2 weeks paternity leave, as from September 2016.
The 2 weeks’ leave will be accompanied by a social welfare benefit on the same lines as maternity leave and the Department of Justice and Equality will also progress the necessary amendments to Social Welfare legislation in cooperation with the Department of Social Protection.
On making the announcement, Minister Fitzgerald said “The introduction of paternity leave and paternity benefit will have a positive on gender equality. Ireland is one of the few European countries without such leave. Evidence shows that fathers want to spend time caring for and being with their children and families. Currently fathers use other existing leave arrangements to take time off around the birth of their child to support their families“.
Minister Ó Ríordáin added “The fact that this proposed paternity leave can be taken any time within a 26 week period of the birth of a child allow fathers to spend increased time with their children and families around the child’s birth. Evidence from countries such as Norway shows that paternity leave – aside from its social benefits and positive impact on fatherhood – promotes equality for women and supports higher levels of female participation in the labour force.”
Today’s decision reflects the decision by the Government in Budget 2016 on the introduction of 2 weeks paternity leave.
Note for Editors
The Heads (General Scheme) will be published and laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas for the standard pre-legislative scrutiny process.
As with maternity leave, payment of the 2 week paternity benefit will be made via the social welfare system. Many employers, particularly in the public sector and the larger private sector companies, chose to pay full pay during maternity leave. Employers can likewise choose to pay full pay during paternity leave, but will not be obliged to do so.