Written answers

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Employment Support Services

Photo of Peter BurkePeter Burke (Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael)
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683. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if training and upskilling opportunities will be offered to mothers that wish to return to work after maternity leave and to mothers with children availing of free preschool years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50945/18]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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Referrals to training supports by my Department are focused on those in receipt of qualifying welfare payments. A mother has to be in employment to avail of maternity leave. Under Section 26 of the Maternity Protection Act 1994 a mother is entitled to return to work to the same job with the same contract of employment following their maternity leave.

Mothers that wishing to return to work, who are not in receipt of welfare support have access to Solas training supports. Solas is a statutory agency that operates under the aegis of the Department of Education and Skills, which has responsibility the management, co-ordination and supporting the delivery of Further Education and Training by the Education and Training Boards. I would suggest that any such person is advised to enquire with their local Education Training Board to assess what supports may be available to them.

It is also open to any unemployed person to contact my Department’s Public Employment Service at their local Intreo centre to discuss the options that may be available to them.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

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