113. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if parents will have to wait until 1 September 2019 to use 18 weeks leave which they have not yet availed of in respect of a child aged 8, 9, 10 or 11 years of age following the enactment of the Parental Leave (Amendment) Bill 2017; if this unused leave can be utilised as soon as the commencement order has taken effect; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22231/19]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): The Parental Leave (Amendment) Bill 2017, as passed by both House of the Oireachtas, provides that parents may take any unused leave from their entitlement to parental leave under the 1998 Act, as long as their child is under the qualifying age of 12 years.
I can confirm that parents will be entitled to apply to their employers to take any unused parental leave, from their original entitlement to 18 weeks of parental leave under the 1998 Act, once the Bill is enacted and commenced. Parents will still be required to give their employer six weeks’ notice of their intention to take leave as per section 8(1) of the 1998 Act. However under section 8(4) of the Act, employers have the discretion to waive this requirement.
As the Deputy will be aware from discussions during the progress of the Bill through the House of the Oireachtas, my officials are currently preparing a commencement order and I expect that Minister Flanagan will sign the order no later than 19 July. Question No. 114 answered with Question No. 112.