Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
447. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth the amount of parental leave available to parents of children at the moment; if it is planned to increase the amount of parental leave granted to parents of children under 13 years of age to enable them to strike the correct work life balance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44329/20]
The Parental Leave Act 1998 entitles parents to unpaid leave to look after their children. This leave is available to a relevant parent, who is defined as a parent, adoptive parent or person acting in loco parentis.
The Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019 introduced a significant extension to the existing parental leave entitlements, raising the age of the child for whom parental leave may be taken from eight years to twelve. It also extended the parental leave entitlement by 8 weeks, on a phased basis. The last of these increases came into effect on 1 September 2020 and parents are now entitled to 26 weeks leave in total.
Mindful of the recent significant increase in parental leave entitlements, the Government has no plans to make any further amendments to this leave. The Government has, however, recently approved the drafting of a Bill to extend the entitlement to Parent’s Leave and Benefit, which is a paid entitlement, from two weeks to five weeks for each parent, and the period in which this leave can be taken to two years after the birth of the child.