The second phase of unpaid parental leave brought in by the Social Democrats Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019 comes into effect next Tuesday, 1st September 2020. Four additional weeks of unpaid leave is available to parents, following on from the four weeks that became available last September, bringing the amount of unpaid parental leave available to working parents up to 26 weeks.

Jennifer Whitmore TD, Social Democrats spokesperson for Children, said:

“Parental leave is vital in giving working parents more flexibility around their work schedules and any increase will be helpful to many parents juggling work and family commitments, in particular right now in such difficult and uncertain times.

“The opportunity to avail of the additional leave may help both parents and employers as they cope with the additional challenges faced in dealing with the pandemic, including the challenges of restricted childcare availability, working from home or businesses not back to full capacity yet.

“Ireland has a very poor record in supporting parents, especially in comparison to our European counterparts. It is crucial as we rebuild our economy and work/life balance after the pandemic that Ireland works towards the goal of ensuring every child can remain with their parents for the first year of their life. The Government must commit to this and provide meaningful support to working parents.

“Last year’s budget did the bare minimum to support working parents, who received a meagre allocation of two weeks’ paid leave – which has yet to come into effect. I reiterate my call to extend paid parental leave in accordance with commitments given in the 2019 Government strategy ‘First 5 Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families 2019-2028’.

“The Government should include additional paid leave in this year’s budget, allowing parents to avail of seven weeks’ paid parental leave by 2021, as we work towards better long-term family supports.”

30th August 2020

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