New proposals on paid maternity leave, passed today by MEPs, could cost the Irish exchequer over €300m.
It is unclear whether the Irish State or private companies will foot the bill.
EU member states will have to pay women 20 weeks full-paid maternity leave under the plan and two weeks full paternity pay.
The measures still have to be approved and passed by the EU member state governments and Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins says that process could take a long time.
"A lot of people are getting hot and bothered about this…this is only a first reading that has to go to the council, the draft has to come back to us again, and then it has to be endorsed," he said.