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More than 51,000 fathers have taken paternity leave since September 2016

51,409 fathers have been awarded leave since the scheme began.

Image: Shutterstock/Halfpoint

MORE THAN 51,000 fathers have taken paternity leave since the scene was introduced in September 2016. 

Paternity Benefit is a payment for employed and self-employed people who are on paternity leave from work and covered by PRSI. 

The initiative allows fathers to take two weeks off within six months of the birth of their child, receiving a payment of €240 per week. Following Budget 2019, this will increase to €245 per week from the week beginning 25 March 2019. 

New figures released by the Department of Social Protection show that 51,409 fathers have been awarded leave since the scheme began in September 2016. 

In total, 4,100 self-employed men have been given leave since the scheme was introduced. 

In most months in 2018, 1,900 or more fathers were granted paternity leave. 

So far in 2018, August saw the most amount of fathers taking paternity leave, at a total of 2,549. 

Meanwhile, June saw the lowest figure, with 1,584 fathers taking paternity leave. 

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty has welcomed the uptake of Paternity Benefit by working families. 

“I am delighted that working parents, both employed and self-employed, are availing of their PRSI to get two weeks paid Paternity Benefit following the birth or adoption of their baby,” Doherty said. 

“The government recognises the importance of providing support for parents of young children and is very much aware that the first year in a child’s life is of particular importance,” she said. 

Extended parental leave

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe announced during the Budget that parents are to receive two extra weeks’ paid leave to every parent of a child in their first year.

The new paid leave scheme was announced in this afternoon’s Budget and will take effect from November 2019.

Donohoe said that it is the government’s intention to “increase this to seven extra weeks over time”.

Doherty said the scheme is “designed to be family-friendly and flexible”.

“Parents will be able to take the new paid leave any time – and at the same time if they wish to do so – during their child’s first year. The first 12 months of life are incredibly formative for a child and the benefit of allowing parents’ greater time with a new baby will be beneficial to individual children, families and society as a whole,” Doherty said. 

“I am particularly happy that, with both paternal leave and this new parental leave scheme, we are creating more opportunities for fathers to have the time to spend with their new arrivals as this greatly benefits both child and parent.”

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