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Bosses aren't happy about proposals to give dads two weeks paid paternity leave

Last night Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said he was confident this provision would be included in the Family Leave Bill.

Image: father baby image via Shutterstock

BUSINESS GROUP IBEC has said today that any proposal to offer paid paternity leave to fathers in new legislation would result in a “disproportionate burden” for employers.

Last night, Equality Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said he was confident that the provision of two weeks paid paternity leave would be included in the Family Leave Bill currently being drafted.

Speaking on RTÉ’S Prime Time last night, he said Ireland is “well behind” the rest of Europe in this area.

Though engagement with employers on the issue has not taken place. Ó Ríordáin said the priority for the government will be what’s best for the children of this country.

Today, Ibec head of HR, Maeve McElwee said it is “unclear how the Minister sees paternity leave being introduced”.

She said that if the government is building on proposals whereby mothers share two weeks of their leave with the father, it creates a “more complex and administratively costly situation” for employers.

Although Ibec recognises the importance of achieving reconciliation of professional and private life, any proposal for a period of maternity leave to be shared with the father will result in a disproportionate burden for employers trying to maintain their competitiveness, in particular, small and medium sized businesses.

“Employers will face an increased administrative and cost burden ensuring that temporary cover is arranged, or duties are re-allocated where an employee is on leave, regardless of the length of leave,” she said. “Alternative arrangements will have to be made in a way which ensures that there it does not result in a loss of productivity, or output.”

She pointed out that the European Union has already extended the period of parental leave to 18 weeks, which “gave parents, including fathers, an entitlement to an extra four weeks of leave”.

“There is no requirement to legislate for any period of maternity leave to be shared with the father of child, where generous provisions already exist.”

The minister said last night that this conversation should be about the type of society we want and what our value system is when it comes to parenting.

“What expectation we have of our families in Irish society when a child is born. And what’s best for the family should be the first thing we think about and not the difficulties an employer or a workplace would have. The central point remains that a happy worker means a happy work place. You should never come to a situation where a pregnancy causes a problem.”

Read: Irish fathers look set to benefit from two weeks paid paternity leave>

Read: Separated father with joint custody wrongly granted single person rent allowance>

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