The Social Democrats have welcomed the passage tonight through the Dáil of our Bill to extend unpaid parental leave for working parents.

The Parental Leave (Amendment) Bill 2017 allows parents to take a total of six months (26 weeks) unpaid leave from their jobs without their employment rights being affected.

This is an increase on the current maximum of 18 weeks of unpaid parental leave per child.  The Bill also allows leave to be taken over the lifetime of children up to the age of 12 (currently 8).

Having completed its passage through the Dáil, the private members’ Bill will now go to the Seanad to complete its passage.

Party co-leader Róisín Shortall TD said:

“We are very pleased at the backing we received from fellow lawmakers tonight for this very practical Bill. I’d like to thank Minister David Stanton and all political parties for their support. Our aim is to help working families to enjoy better work-life balance by giving parents the chance to spend more time caring for their children, if that makes economic sense for them.

“The passage of this Bill through the Dáil tonight means it is one step closer to becoming law – and we hope that it will pass through the Seanad swiftly and come into force in the coming months.”

The party’s Spokesperson on Children, Councillor Jennifer Whitmore added:

“Working parents face daily challenges in juggling work and family responsibilities. Parents who have contacted us in recent weeks to show their support for our Bill realise that it not a substitute to paid parental leave. Its purpose is to provide that extra bit of additional flexibility to working parents so they can take unpaid time off work at particular periods over their children’s lives, such as during school holidays.”

ENDS

13 June 2018

Notes to Editors:

The Parental Leave (Amendment) Bill 2017 extends unpaid parental leave from 18 weeks to 26 weeks for all parents with children up to 12 years old. If parents have already taken all of their parental leave, they will be allowed an extra 8 weeks under the Bill – once they still have a qualifying child.

Ireland’s laws on parental leave derive almost entirely from EU legislation. While we are allowed to go beyond these, Ireland has adopted a leave period just above the minimum number of weeks set down under EU law.

The Social Democrats are committed to the introduction of paid parental leave, and proposed such a move in each of our alternative Budget proposals for Budgets 2016, 2017 & 2018. Under Dáil rules, opposition parties are prevented from proposing Bills where there is a cost to the State. This is why we have focused on unpaid parental leave in this Bill.