Wednesday, 6 February 2019
Parental Leave (Amendment) Bill 2017: Committee Stage
Like other Senators, I have received much correspondence and calls from many concerned parents about this Bill. As my colleagues, Senators Noone and Conway, said, I appreciate that the Minister of State is working exceptionally hard to find consensus on this important Bill, to try to support working parents. The contribution, which I have carefully listened to, is working towards reaching that consensus. It has numerous benefits for parents who will be able to spend more time with their children, and for children when developing. The Minister of State has pointed out the challenges due to the cost implications in the analysis which has been done but it can have positive impacts for the employer too, in retention of staff, ensuring that skills are retained in the workforce, and supporting working parents by easing the horrendous cost of childcare. I would like to see this Bill progress to the next Stage.
I am supportive of parents in our region. We know that work has been done on paid paternity leave. In County Roscommon, over 200 fathers have benefited from that. We have seen the extension of ECCE. It is not that the Government is not working to support parents. In line with the directive from the EU on work-life balance, there is always more to do to support working parents and I think progression of this Bill would go some way to support parents in spending more time with their children, especially in early years where they benefit significantly from that time and support.