Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has urged the Government to prioritise introducing the 3 weeks’ Parent’s Leave and Benefit which was promised in the Budget over 3 months ago.
Speaking in the Dáil today, Teachta Kerrane warned the Government that the delay in enacting this pledge has forced parents, including those with newborn babies to take unpaid leave, and urged the Tánaiste to act.
“Many parents are waiting for this. The only option available up to now for them has been to take unpaid parental leave which many of them simply cannot afford to take.
“Many parents, especially those who have had new babies, haven’t been able to return to work after their maternity leave has ended and they have been left with no option. They cannot access childcare and their only option is unpaid parental leave.
“So I want to ask you Tánaiste, the legislation is listed as a priority – when will that legislation be brought to the House? And how quickly will parents be able to avail of this three weeks parents’ leave?”
“I was disappointed by the Tánaiste’s response as he does not appear to grasp the importance of ensuring this happens quickly.
“Many families are being badly affected by this delay. Their finances are already tight and they should not have to face the financial burden of this Government’s inaction.
“This is something they are entitled to and will make a real difference to the finances of thousands of families. This delay is unacceptable.
“I have also written to Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman as he is due to bring in the legislation, setting out my concerns and highlighting the importance of this being enacted quickly.
“Another issue I raised in the Dáil today is the need to publicise changes to PUP eligibility criteria which have extended eligibility to parents who are unable to work due to school closures or lack of childcare.
“It is vital that parents are made aware of this important change, so that they can receive the social welfare support they are entitled to. I have asked the Government to ensure work is done to raise awareness of this change.
“Many families are currently under huge financial pressure and the Government must do all it can to help to them.”