New parents set to get three extra weeks parental leave
According to a new government proposal, new parents will get three extra weeks parental leave each - in part to recognise the challenges faced by mothers who gave birth during the Covid-19 crisis.
This comes after Sinn Féin tabled a Dáil motion seeking three months extra maternity leave due to the impact that the coronavirus has had on new families, reports the Irish Independent.
However, the proposals for an extra three weeks for both parents will be the government's response to the Sinn Féin move in the Dáil, said Children Minister Roderic O'Gorman.
"What the government is proposing here is that in the context of Budget 2021 to examine an extension of parent's leave from two weeks to five weeks for each parent," he said.
"So that's an additional three weeks for each parent and that leave is paid at the rate of €245-per-week."
The Minister also said the extra weeks would apply to the parents of all children born since November 1, 2019.
He said: "This is a measure to recognise to some extent the particular challenges that mothers and parents have faced during the Covid-19".
Orla O’Connor of the National Women's Council of Ireland said that while the group welcomes the extension for new fathers as well as mothers, “what is needed is something that was immediate."
She told Newstalk this morning that an extension was to be expected in the next budget regardless of Covid-19, adding that the point of the extension was so it could "take place very quickly."
“In many cases, women gave birth without a partner or loved one present, and faced into motherhood without family or professional support," she said.
“Babies have missed developmental checks, vital scans, hospital appointments and even vaccinations have been cancelled or delayed."