Fathers in line for paid leave

Fathers could be in line for two weeks paid paternity leave, Equality Minister Aodhan O’Riordain has stated.

Fathers in line for paid leave

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said in recent months she hoped to see the reform included in new legislation, but Mr O’Riordain insists he is “confident” this will now happen.

“We have maternity leave in Ireland that stands up to scrutiny, I think. But the paternity leave is something that we are well behind on.

“Most European countries have statutory paternity leave. We don’t. I think an introduction of two weeks paid paternity leave would be welcome,” the minister told RTÉ’s PrimeTime.

Mr O’Riordain said he expected the move to be included in the Family Leave Bill, which ties up parental and adoptive reforms.

“I am as confident as I can be at this stage that there will be two weeks’ paid paternity leave in that legislation but there is no definite in Irish politics.

“Things can change and priorities can change, but I know I’m committed to it and I know that Minister Fitzgerald is committed to it, and, as I say, it’s an important start to the conversation about what we want from Irish society for children for parents, for families,” he said.

At present, maternity leave is paid for six months at a rate of €230 a week, with an additional 16 weeks unpaid leave available.

Mr O’Riordan said that the costs would be manageable.

“It wouldn’t be very expensive. I’m hearing figures of about €10m”, he said.

The Government has already agreed not to oppose Seanad moves allowing parents to share maternity leave.

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