119. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the amount of maximum entitlement to unpaid parental leave available to a parent who works on a week-on and week-off basis. [24814/19]


Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): As the Deputy will be aware, the Parental Leave Act 1998 provides that a parent who completes one year of continuous employment shall be entitled to maximum of 18 weeks of parental leave.
Section 7(2)(a)(i) of the Act provides that where a parent works on a pro-rata basis, the amount of parental leave available to the employee shall be equivalent to the number of hours worked by that employee in the 18 weeks before they intend to commence their parental leave.  Therefore, in the circumstances outlined by the Deputy, the employee in question would currently be entitled to a maximum of nine weeks of parental leave.
The Deputy will appreciate from discussions during the progress of the Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019 through the Houses of the Oireachtas, the maximum periods of parental leave available to parents will increase to 22 weeks from 1st September this year, and to 26 weeks from 1st September 2020.  
To give effect to this commitment, my officials are currently preparing a commencement order to be signed by Minister Flanagan in the coming weeks.
As a consequence, the maximum amount of leave available to a parent working a week-on, week-off basis will be 11 weeks from 1st September 2019 and 13 weeks from 1st September 2020.