Within the next two years, a number of changes to the parental leave act are expected to take place. Please keep in mind that before these changes can come into effect, the legislation must first be enacted.
Paid Parental Scheme
This scheme allows parents to take two weeks paid leave each during their child’s first year. This is expected to commence from November 2019 and will be paid at the same rate as Maternity Benefit and Paternity Benefit – €245 per week. It is intended to gradually increase this to up to seven weeks parental leave over the next three years in line with Government announcement for Budget 2019. Over 60,000 parents a year are expected to benefit from this scheme.
Extended Parental Leave
A phased extension to the number of week’s parents can take as parental leave. Parental leave for parents of eligible children will begin with the introduction of four weeks in September 2019 and an additional four weeks from September 2020. This will allow employers time to plan to ensure the implementation of the new legislative provisions can be as smooth as possible. The Government amendment was passed on the 8th May in the Seanad.
Child Age Increase
There is also an expected increase in the age of children that parents can take parental leave for. The Bill states that the age of a qualifying child will increase from the current eight years old to twelve years old.
How can you Apply?
Before taking your parental leave, you must first give a written notice to your employer at least 6 weeks before the leave is due to start. In this notice, you must state the date when you are beginning your leave and how long it will last. You will also need to sign a document confirming your details with your employer and this must be done 4 weeks before the leave is due to start.
For more information on parental leave you can contact the Workplace Relations Commission’s Information and Customer Service.