Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has warned the Children’s Minister that the delays to introducing Parent’s Leave & Benefit cannot happen again.
Additional weeks of Parent’s Leave was first mooted last summer, it was then officially announced in the Budget last October, nearly six months later and the legislation is only just going through the Dáil. Teachta Kerrane warned this cannot happen in any future increases.
Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Teachta Kerrane raised a number of concerns:
“There is an assumption in this legislation that families are always a two parent family. That’s not always the case and we know that. I would ask, as Lone Parent organisations have asked, that in the case of a lone parent, they would get the entire 10 weeks Paid Parent’s Leave. Because when it comes to a new baby; whether it’s born into a family with two parents or one, that baby shouldn’t lose out on the additional supports. I would really ask that the Minister would look at that.
“Parents who have a baby through surrogacy are being excluded from many paid parental supports such as Maternity Leave & Benefit. This has to change and it is something that the Minister needs to look at because these parents are being excluded and it’s really, really wrong.
“I would also ask that the Minister look into an issue which has been brought to my attention by a mother who had her baby prematurely in October 2019, just before the leave was introduced in November 2019, I would ask the Minister if there can be any flexibility for parents due to have their babies from November onwards but where the baby was premature. That additional leave would be so welcome to those parents and I would like to hear the Minister’s views on that.
“I want to commend the work of the Extend Maternity Leave campaign group, who have really fought hard for additional supports for parents since Covid-19 hit this time last year.
“It’s also important to acknowledge the parents who have had babies before and during Covid and who have been left in really difficult situations as they haven’t had the level of support from family and friends that would normally be there.
“Ireland must transpose the EU Work Life Balance Directive before 2022 which includes nine weeks of paid Parent’s Leave for both parents, parents and families cannot wait as long for those future increases as they did for this one.”