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Cabinet approves three extra weeks of paid leave for parents of children born after 1 November 2019

Parents will now be entitled to take five weeks of Parent’s Leave after their child is born or adopted, instead of the two weeks that were previously available.

Image: Shutterstock/KonstantinChristian

CABINET HAS APPROVED the extension of paid Parent’s Leave to include an additional three weeks of leave for parents after a child’s birth or adoption.

Parents will now be entitled to take five weeks of Parent’s Leave after their child is born or adopted, instead of the two weeks that were previously available.

They are to be able to take the five weeks of leave at any time in the first two years after the birth or adoption of their child, instead of in the one-year period that was provided for in the Parent’s Leave and Benefit Act 2019.

The additional leave will be available to parents after legislation has commenced, and is only available to parents whose child was born on or after 1 November 2019. 

New legislation is to be introduced in the New Year to provide for the extension of the paid Parent’s Leave.

Additionally, Cabinet has approved provisions to amend the Adoptive Leave Act 1995 alongside the extension of the Parent’s Leave which will allow male same-sex couples who adopt to avail of the leave as adoptive parents.

It is expected that technical changes in the IT system to implement the extension will take until April 2021.

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman, who secured Cabinet approval for the extension today, is currently looking at whether backdated payments will be possible for people who take the additional leave before the IT changes have been made.

O’Gorman said that he hopes the five weeks of leave will “help mothers and fathers take that time in those precious first couple of years with their child”.

“We’re committed to ensuring every child gets the best possible start in life, and supporting parents to spend more time with their kids is a big part of that,” O’Gorman said.

The minister said he was “happy to be in a position to advance these important amendments to the Adoptive Leave Act 1995″ and that “addressing the access to adoptive leave and benefit by married male same-sex couples” is “of great importance for couples seeking to adopt”.

Parent’s Leave is a statutory entitlement for parents and is different to parental, maternity or paternity leave.

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Maternity Leave is available for 26 paid weeks and up to 16 additional unpaid weeks around the birth of a child, while Paternity Leave is also available on the birth of a child for two paid weeks.

Parental Leave is an unpaid period of 26 weeks that parents and guardians of children under the age of 12 can avail of.

The extension of Parent’s Leave from two weeks to five was raised earlier this year and described as a measure to support parents of children born during the pandemic.

However, it attracted criticism on the grounds that it was already planned for in the Programme for Government, as opposed to being a response to Covid-19, and because it would not take immediate effect.

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