Ministers Flanagan and Stanton introduce phased additional unpaid Parental Leave
- Minister Flanagan has signed the Commencement Order for the Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019
- 4 weeks additional unpaid Parental Leave available from 1 September and a further 4 weeks available next year
- Qualifying age of child increased from 8 to 12 years
- Parents can now apply for additional unpaid leave from their employer
23rd July 2019
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan T.D., has signed the Commencement Order for the Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019. This has enabled working parents to apply for an additional 4 weeks of unpaid parental leave from 1 September 2019.
Minister Flanagan said:
“The period of unpaid parental leave will be extended from the current entitlement of 18 weeks to 22 weeks from 1st September 2019. Further changes will come into place on 1st September 2020 when the unpaid parental leave entitlement will be extended to 26 weeks. The new measures allow any parent who has already availed of their current entitlement of 18 weeks to avail of a further eight weeks of parental leave. Parents can now apply to their employer for permission related to the first additional 4 weeks. The legislation also introduces an increase to the age of the child for which parental leave is available from 8 to 12 years. Both mothers and fathers may apply for this leave which I anticipate may be of particular benefit to parents that wish to take the unpaid leave when their children will be returning to school in September.”
David Stanton, T.D., the Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration welcomed the commencement of this Act saying:
“I was very pleased to work with Oireachtas Members on behalf of Government to enact and implement this legislation. This proposal for additional unpaid leave was made in a private members’ bill sponsored by Deputies Róisín Shortall and Catherine Murphy. The Government continues to develop and extend its own proposals to extend paid parental leave entitlements. Later this year a new social insurance-based parental leave system will be available to parents providing two weeks of paid leave to both parents during the first year of a child’s life. An estimated 60,000 parents a year are expected to gain from this change. This is in addition to the two weeks paid Paternity Leave for fathers which commenced in 2016 and which almost 70,000 fathers have applied to the scheme since its introduction. The Government will continue to support parents by providing greater flexibility in achieving and managing a work life balance.”
Note for Editors
- An FAQ on this is available on the Department website: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Unpaid_Parental_Leave_(Frequently_Asked_Questions).pdf/Files/Unpaid_Parental_Leave_(Frequently_Asked_Questions).pdf
- The Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019 (Commencement) Order 2019 came into operation on 19 July 2019.
- Under the Parental Leave Act 1998, parents are required to provide their employers with six weeks notification of their intention to take parental leave.
- The signing of the Commencement Order allows for the phased implementation of the extended eight weeks unpaid parental leave over a two-year period, beginning with the introduction of four weeks in September 2019 and an additional four weeks from September 2020. This will allow employers time to plan to ensure the implementation of the new legislative provisions can be as smooth as possible.
- As part of Budget 2019, the Government announced the introduction of a new paid parental leave scheme, which is expected to commence later this year. The General Scheme of the Parental Leave and Benefit Bill was published on 23 April. This new scheme will initially provide for two weeks of paid, non-transferable leave per parent to spend with their new babies during their first year. Ultimately, parents will be able to benefit from seven weeks leave each under the scheme as it develops incrementally over the next three years. An estimated 60,000 parents a year are expected to benefit under the scheme. These supports are in addition to maternity and paternity leave. Details of the scheme announced by the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection are available here: https://www.welfare.ie/en/pressoffice/Pages/PR230419.aspx