Paid Paternity Leave On Track For September 2016
The introduction for the first time of a statutory entitlement to paid paternity leave in Ireland is on track to be included in the Family Leave Bill is expected in September 2016. Last year’s Budget announced the introduction of two weeks’ statutory paternity leave at a rate of €230 per week. This is the same as maternity benefit and subject to the same PRSI contributions. Fathers shall be able to avail of the leave at any time within 26 weeks of the birth.
The Irish Times has also reported that the Government has agreed to fast-track this legislation and Tánaiste Joan Burton sought Cabinet approval to allow for the heads of a Bill to be prepared ahead of a new government being formed. A spokesman for Ms Burton said he could not foresee any unnecessary delays to its introduction in September, but added that it would be a matter for the new government.
Although there is no statutory obligation to pay maternity leave over the state benefit entitlement, many employers top up maternity state benefits either partially or in full. Those employers may need to consider their position on top up pay for paternity benefit and take into account gender equality considerations. Employers should also review their leave policies once the new legislation is published.