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 almost 4 months ago.
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said families cannot be forced to wait any longer and that the Government must act now.
“Last week, I raised this issue directly in the Dáil with the Tánaiste and urged him to act. I was deeply disappointed by how dismissive and vague his response was.
“This isn’t good enough. Families need support now and can’t be expected to wait any more. This is a considerable amount of money, which will make a big difference to families’ finances.
“For many parents who 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.
“The legislation is listed as a priority, so where is it? Why are families being forced to wait for months on end when this is an urgent issue? We need to know when that legislation will be brought to the House and how quickly will parents be able to avail of this three weeks parents’ leave?
“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 also wrote 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. I look forward to his response and this matter being urgently addressed.”