The Parent’s Leave and Benefit Act 2019, which was introduced on the 1 November 2019, provides for two weeks of Parent’s Leave for each parent to allow them time off around the birth or adoption of their child or the child of their spouse or partner. In December 2020, Minister O’Gorman secured Cabinet approval for the extension of the €245 a week paid benefit. The bill is currently before Seanad Éireann (Committee Stage or Third Stage). It is expected these changes will come into effect from 1 April 2021. The extension will be made available retrospectively to parents in respect of children born or adopted on or after 1st November 2019. Eligible employees can avail of their two weeks until April 2021, where they can then claim their remaining 3 weeks entitlement.
As provided for in Budget 2021, changes to parent’s leave are as follows:
- Parent's Leave and Parents Benefit will be extended from 2 to 5 weeks for each parent. (3-week increase).
- Employees will have up to two years to take this leave - previously it was taken within the first 12 months of the birth/adoption of the child.
The Parent’s Benefit is paid for by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and there is no legal obligation for employers to provide a top up payment. Considering this, businesses should prepare for and expect more requests from parents seeking time off for childcare commitments this year.
It is important to note that the Government, as part of Budget 2021, had intended to extend parent’s leave in light of a commitment given in Budget 2019 to incrementally increase parent’s leave from 2 weeks to 7 weeks by 2021. Section 5 of the Parent’s Leave and Benefit Act 2019 states that the leave may be extended not beyond a period of 9 weeks. Allowing for a maximum period of 9 weeks takes account of the impending transposition of the Work-Life Balance Directive which provides for two months of paid leave. As Ireland is obligated to transpose the minimum requirements of the Directive by August 2022, an increase to parent’s leave was always expected.
The last year has seen a significant increase in family leave entitlements and the impact will, no doubt, be felt by companies in the current climate. SFA will keep members updated with developments as they arise. You can view more information on family leave or contact Emma Crowley on 01 605 1668 or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further questions.