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15th Oct 2015

Paternity Leave: Here’s what you need to know

Katie Mythen-Lynch

Every employer in the country will be obliged to offer new fathers two weeks statutory paternity leave following the birth of a child, starting in September 2016.

The Budget measure, designed to help tackle Ireland’s childcare crisis, will see new dads receive a €460 payment for the leave, which can be taken any time within 28 weeks of the birth.

Unfortunately, the delay in introducing paternity leave (while the legislation passes through the Dáil and a new IT system is introduced to process the payments) means that only couples who conceive in the new year will qualify. In the meantime, men in Ireland are entitled to no leave whatsoever to welcome their new arrival, unless they are employed by the civil service, in which case paid leave of three days is available.

Maternity leave (first introduced 40 years ago) of €230 per week is paid for six months with the option to take an additional 16 weeks unpaid.

The introduction of paternity leave is thought to be the first step in a long-term plan to adopt the Scandinavian model of 12 months shared parental leave, split between both parents during the first year of a child’s life.

According to Minister for Children James Reilly, the move represents “the beginning of a multi-annual programme of investment in this strategically important area”.

Don’t hold your breath though, the plan could take up to 10 years to be fully implemented.

Have you dissected Budget 2016 yet? Find out what it means for your family here