Parental Leave Entitlements

7th August 2019

Posted In: FYI

CIPD Ireland – the umbrella body for human resource and learning and development professionals in Ireland – has called on the Government to better explain new parental leave entitlements ahead of their introduction.

The Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019 is due to come into effect on September 1st, and will extend optional, unpaid parental leave. The new law will allow parents to take up to 22 working weeks of unpaid parental leave, an extra four weeks on top of the current entitlement. The age of a qualifying child increases from 8 years to 12 years.

The announcement comes alongside the proposed introduction of paid parental leave from November 2019.  The paid parental leave will initially be for up to two weeks of non-transferable leave per parent during the first year of the child’s life, extending to seven weeks by 2021. The Government expects up to 60,000 parents a year to benefit from paid parental leave. By May 2019, over 51,000 fathers had availed of paid paternity leave.

Director of CIPD Ireland, Mary Connaughton, says; “Our members across Ireland have been telling us of significant confusion amongst their workforce about the changes. HR teams have been making every effort to help explain these changes, however we are concerned that workers are unaware of their entitlements and will miss out as a result. A concerted effort must be made to streamline the various changes, which while welcome individually, have become bureaucratically difficult to implement.”

 “The combination of schemes and rules is somewhat confusing for both employers and employees. Overall these change means that parental leave will increase from the current 18 weeks unpaid leave to a total of 33 weeks paid and unpaid leave by 2021, a significant increase of an additional 15 weeks per parent per child.  The complexity and differing rules that apply to the different entitlements is a worrying development and does not necessarily result in increased flexibility in how parents choose to manage their time off.”

CIPD Ireland says further engagement is urgently needed with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and the Department of Justice and Equality to avoid a situation where employers make inadvertent mistakes and employees miss out on their entitlements.