The Paternity Leave and Benefit Bill 2016 was passed last month which brings Ireland into the playing field of our EU member states. Iceland pay their fathers 80% of their salaries and give them leave for 3 months. Germany and Sweden give full pay with 2 months’ leave.
Fathers whose child was born or adopted after 1st September 2016 will now be entitled to two weeks paternity leave AND benefit. The leave must be taken within the first 26 weeks of the child’s life or adoption. Civil servants in Ireland prior to this bill were allowed 3 days’ paid leave. The benefit is € 230 per week. Employers may supplement this if they choose.
To qualify, fathers must give 4 weeks’ notice to employers and MUST have a Public Service Card. This replaced the Social Services Card in 2012 for social welfare payments and free travel. Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar stated “the registration of the new card was necessary for the control of distribution”. To apply for this you can go face to face at your social welfare office or Intreo Centre. They use the SAFE system ( Standard Authentication Framework Environment ) or you can apply online at www.mywelfare.ie
The scheme will cost the taxpayer ( as opposed to the government ) € 5million this year and € 20million next year. It covers the self-employed and same sex couples. There are potentially 256,000 men eligible to claim and sadly it is NOT retrospective.
Since 8th March 2013, parental leave was extended to 18 weeks from 14 weeks under the European Union (Parental Leave ) Regulations 2013. Since 18th May 2006, parents can take leave for children up the age of 8. Further information can be obtained from the Department of Social Protection.