Written answers

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Social Welfare Eligibility

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance)
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294. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if women who took parental leave in 2017 or 2018 will obtain credits for this period to entitle them to social welfare supports during the Covid-19 pandemic; her plans to ensure that parents who take parental leave are not discriminated against in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29636/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The Parental Leave Act, 1998, as amended, allows parents to take unpaid leave to look after young children. Parental leave can be taken as a continuous block or, with the agreement of an employer, can be broken up over a period of time.

Statutory Instrument 569 of 1998 provides for the crediting of employment contributions to insured persons for each week during which the person avails of parental leave. If employment contribution credits are due, this would ensure that the person's existing cover for social insurance benefits is maintained. Parental leave employment contribution credits will not be allocated if the person has pre-existing employment contributions or credits for the same period, or if the person is not entitled to employment contribution credits by having two or more consecutive contribution years where there are no employment contributions paid or credited immediately prior to taking parental leave.

In order to request that employment contributions are credited to an person's social insurance record in respect of a period of parental leave, the person's employer must write to the Department's Client Eligibility Services, based in Buncrana, Co. Donegal, confirming the duration of the insured person's parental leave, the number of weeks leave and the exact dates to which the leave relates.

Employers must keep records of all parental leave taken by their employees. These records must include the period of employment of each employee and the dates and times of parental leave taken.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.


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