New Bill aims to increase parental leave entitlement to 26 weeks

The Social Democrats are bringing a bill before the Dáil today which would give parents more unpaid leave to care for their children.

The current limit is 18 weeks for every child aged eight and under - the minimum that must be given under EU law. The new Bill would see that increase to 26 weeks.

Given that the Programme for Partnership Government already contains a commitment to "significantly increase parental leave in the first year of a child’s life", the Government has indicated that it would not oppose the Parental Leave (Amendment) Bill.

However, it has been reported that the Government intends to bring forward its own proposals in the future that would also include increases in paid parental leave.

Social Democrats co-leader Roisin Shortall says parents need to be allowed more time off work.

"We know that parents are under quite a deal of stress in relation to juggling work and home and childcare responsibilities and so on," she said.

"Ireland, really, is very poor in relation to its entitlement to parental leave, and we're bring forward a Bill so that parents would have a total entitlement of six months unpaid parental leave to take at different stages during their children's childhood."

- Digital desk

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