Today’s announcement by the Government of an additional three weeks paid parental leave can only be described as a cynical move by Government designed to give the impression of supporting parents, whilst in fact parents are being short-changed, said SocDems spokesperson for Children, Jennifer Whitmore TD.

Whitmore said:
“A key commitment given in the 2019 Government strategy ‘First 5 Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families 2019-2028’ was for parents to be able to avail of seven weeks paid parental leave by 2021, up from the current two weeks.

“Instead, today’s announcement sees the Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Government reneging on that firm commitment by providing just an additional three weeks leave. Instead of each parent being able to rely on seven weeks paid parental leave as promised, they will now only be able to access five weeks per parent by 2021.

“It is really concerning that one of the first actions of this Government, when it came to supporting parents, was to instead sell them short on supports already promised to them.”

“We absolutely need to be moving to the promised seven weeks immediately, and examine how we extend both paid maternity leave and paid parental leave to the European norms.”

SocDems TD Whitmore has previously called on the Government to extend paid leave for those on maternity leave during the Covid19 pandemic. This is not addressed in the latest announcement and remains an urgent issue for this Government to resolve.

“Ireland sets a very low bar when it comes to supporting parents. Whilst any additional leave for parents is welcome, this proposal falls very far short of what’s needed to help those new mothers that are currently facing huge challenges accessing childcare post-Covid. Many childcare providers are operating on reduced hours, and it is particularly difficult to find childcare for under 1-year old due to the high adult to infant ratio required.”

13th July 2020

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