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Paternity leave should only be the first step

We are a coalition of organisations and individuals seeking to advance children’s early care and education in Ireland and are delighted at the introduction of two weeks’ paid paternity leave.

The move is a crucial step on the way to family leave policies that are in the best interests of all young children, and that would bring Ireland into line with best international practice.

The Government’s measures to legislate for two weeks’ paid paternity leave, is the State’s first recognition of the role of fathers in the care of young children. At last our Government is catching up with families.

Children do best when cared for at home for at least the critical first year of life.

While welcoming the announcement of paid paternity leave in Budget 2016, we were disappointed that no steps were taken to introduce paid parental leave.

We argued in our pre-Budget submission – and continue to argue – that the Government should take the first steps towards introducing 26 weeks’ paid parental leave, to be taken by either parent after the completion of maternity benefit, so that a child can spend at least the first 12 months at home with a parent, in line with recommendations of the recent Inter-Departmental Group report, and the report of the Expert Advisory Group on the Early Years Strategy.”

Ciairín de Buis

Start Strong Director

Basement, 33

Merrion Street Upper

Dublin 2


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