Professionals say they are confused by parental leave laws

Professionals say they are confused by parental leave laws
Mary Connaughton, director of CIPD Ireland

Parents are confused over changes to their leave entitlements under the new Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019 due to come into effect on September 1.

CIPD Ireland has called on the Government to better explain new parental leave entitlements ahead of their introduction.

The new law will allow parents to take up to 22 working weeks of unpaid parental leave, an extra four weeks on top of the current entitlement.

The age of a qualifying child increases from 8 years to 12 years.

CIPD is the umbrella body for human resource and learning and development professionals.

It says further engagement is urgently needed with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and the Department of Justice and Equality to avoid a situation where employers make inadvertent mistakes and employees miss out on their entitlements.

Mary Connaughton, director of CIPD Ireland, said: “Our members across Ireland have been telling us of significant confusion amongst their workforce about the changes.

HR teams have been making every effort to help explain these changes, however we are concerned that workers are unaware of their entitlements and will miss out as a result.

"A concerted effort must be made to streamline the various changes, which while welcome individually, have become bureaucratically difficult to implement.

“The combination of schemes and rules is somewhat confusing for both employers and employees.

"Overall these change means that parental leave will increase from the current 18 weeks unpaid leave to a total of 33 weeks paid and unpaid leave by 2021, a significant increase of an additional 15 weeks per parent per child.

"The complexity and differing rules that apply to the different entitlements is a worrying development and does not necessarily result in increased flexibility in how parents choose to manage their time off.”

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