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Question

93. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to extend the age limit for children from eight to 12 years of age in order that parents can draw down parental leave, as children up to that age cannot be left unsupervised; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44310/15]

Answer

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin): The basis for the current age limit is contained in Council Directive 2010/18/EU giving effect to the revised Parental Leave Framework Agreement negotiated by the European social partners in 2009. The essential point is that the upper age limit was negotiated and agreed by employers and Trade Union representatives at EU level and their agreement was then given force of law by the Directive. There are no plans at present to extend this limit. However, I should refer the Deputy to the announcement in the recent Budget of a new entitlement to two weeks paternity leave from work for fathers together with a social welfare payment to take effect from September 2016.