Written answers

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Social Welfare Code

Photo of Charles FlanaganCharles Flanagan (Laois-Offaly, Fine Gael)
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105. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of the plans to extend parents' benefit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [59654/21]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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Parent's Leave and Benefit is currently available to all eligible parents of children born or adopted from 1 November 2019 for five weeks and must be used within the first two years of the child’s life or adoption.  The Parent’s Benefit scheme is family-friendly and flexible, allowing parents to take one week of leave at a time or for a consecutive period.

Provision was made in Budget 2022 to increase the number of weeks of Parent's Leave and Benefit available to eligible parents from five weeks to seven weeks from July 2021.  The additional two weeks leave and benefit will apply to parents of children who are under age 2 in July 2022 or in the case of adoption, children who have been with their parents for fewer than two years at that point.  

The extension of Parent’s Leave and Benefit requires legislative change and changes to the Department of Social Protection's systems.  This work is already underway, and my Department will be in a position to process and issue the additional two weeks benefit payments from July 2022.

Parents with an entitlement to the existing five weeks of Parents Leave and Benefit prior to this can apply for and use it at their convenience.

I trust this clarifies the position for the Deputy.


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