Seanad debates

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Parental Leave (Amendment) Bill 2017: Committee Stage


10:30 am

Photo of Joan FreemanJoan Freeman (Independent) | Oireachtas source

I also support the Bill and the amendments. Like Senator Norris, I received many emails on this Bill. I have two daughters who are young women with two children each and they have a daily struggle to juggle their work with their children. They get up at 6 a.m. and get home at 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. They are exhausted and try to spend weekends recuperating and catching up on all the things on which they missed out during the week. One daughter has taken up the current version of unpaid parental leave. She juggles everything so that she can have one day off work during the week to lessen the burden.

The people affected by this are willing to accept a reduction in their salary just to have a proper life balance and to remove some of the stress. We also need to remember that 33% of people who are off sick are off because of stress. This is one way of relieving the stress in our society. I agree with Senator Higgins on paid leave and I know several companies who give paid leave not only to mothers but to fathers as well. That is extraordinary and we should commend it. I am pleased that the Bill caters for existing parents as well as new parents and I am delighted that parents who have used up their weeks will be allowed the additional weeks.

I commend the Social Democrats on initiating this Bill and I commend my colleagues in Fianna Fáil and the Labour Party as this is a wonderful Bill. I look forward to it being implemented.


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