The Social Democrats have welcomed the passage today at committee stage of our Bill to increase to six months the amount of unpaid parental leave available to working parents of children aged up to 12.
The Parental Leave (Amendment) Bill 2017 aims to help working families enjoy better work-life balance by permitting parents to spend more time caring for their children.
The Bill allows parents to take a total of six months (26 weeks) unpaid leave from their jobs without their employment rights being affected. This is eight weeks more than the current period of four months (18 weeks) unpaid leave. The Bill also allows leave over the lifetime of children up to the age of 12 (currently 8).
The party’s co-leader Róisín Shortall TD said:
“We are very pleased that our proposals to give more flexibility to working families received the backing today of fellow legislators at the Select Committee on Justice and Equality.
“Increasing the amount of unpaid leave available represents a win-win for both working parents and employees. For parents with pre-school children in particular, unpaid parental leave can be a realistic alternative to paying high costs of formal childcare.”
The party’s spokesperson on Children, Cllr Jennifer Whitmore, added:
“Employers are understandably keen to retain women workers – and these measures could be the difference between a mother staying in her job as an active member of the workforce, or quitting out of exhaustion and stress. We are delighted that our Bill is now one step closer to becoming law.”