Criticism for Government's plans to extend parental leave

Children's Minister Roderic O'Gorman announced the plans will be included in the next budget.

Parents who have had a child since November last year may be entitled to an extra three weeks leave, however it will not apply until next year.

Children's Minister Roderic O'Gorman said it will be part of Budget 2021 in October.

However, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald expressed concern that the extended leave was not enough.

"I am disappointed that the government seems to have reached for parental leave as an alternative to doing the right things for mothers in particular, but for parents who have new-borns and who have had incredible complications and pressures in these times," said Ms McDonald.

"They have been left without all of the normal supports, as I recall when I was a new parent, relied on."

The National Women's Council also criticised the proposal saying it doesn't go far enough to meet the needs of new parents in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Orla O’Connor from the NWC says this does not help new mothers right now.

"It's utterly separate in terms of what the woman have been looking for," say Ms O'Connor.

"Their access to things like medical appointments and health check-ups for themselves and their babies were all gone."