Parents could share 26 weeks' paid maternity leave under proposed law
Irish parents could soon look forward to more equality in parental leave after having a baby.
A law allowing parents to share the 26 weeks' maternity leave that Irish mothers are entitled to has been proposed in the Dáil.
As is, Irish fathers are entitled to just two weeks' paid leave by the state when they have a child.
The proposal was put forward today by Fiona O'Loughlin, a Fianna Fáil deputy for Kildare South, according to RTÉ News.
"(Fathers) can only take up some of the mother's entitlement if she dies," she told the chamber.
"The Bill that I move today will allow both parents of a child to share this 26-week period of paid maternity leave between them."
The new law would also apply to new adoptive parents and same-sex parents.
It would, Deputy O'Loughlin said, be of significant financial benefit to families and would allow for "greater involvement by both parents".
"Employers of parents have vastly different arrangements in whether and how they support parents beyond the statutory minimum of 26 paid weeks maternity leave and the State support of €240 per week.
"In some cases it may be financially beneficial for the second parent to take the leave. Similarly some jobs may lend themselves better to taking periods of leave."
Employers in Ireland are not obliged to offer mothers or fathers paid maternity or paternity leave after they welcome a new baby.