193. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to amend the parental leave legislation to extend the age limit in order to allow parental leave be taken up to the age that a child finishes their primary education; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42718/17]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): As the Deputy will be aware, under the Parental Leave Act 1998, as amended by the Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2006, an entitlement was created for parents to 14 weeks unpaid parental leave on the birth or adoption of a child. Such leave was to be taken until the child had reached the age of eight years with certain extensions allowed in the case of adoptees and children with a disability or long-term illness.
On 8 March 2013 the European Union (Parental Leave) Regulations 2013 increased the amount of parental leave available to each parent per child from 14 weeks to 18 weeks. The Regulations also extended the age limit for a child with a disability or long-term illness to 16 years.
As the Deputy will also be aware, the Government has approved drafting of a Family Leave Bill, which I intend to publish in early course. The Bill will consolidate all existing family leave legislation such as parental leave, carer's leave, maternity leave and adoptive leave into one Act while making necessary amendments and improvements.