Ireland recently introduced new legislation called the Parent’s Leave and Benefit Act 2019. It provides two weeks’ extra paid leave for each parent in the first year of their new child’s life. Leave is available up until a child’s 12th birthday (previously only available up to the child’s 8th birthday). Beginning September 1, 2020, the amount of paid leave increases further to 26 weeks. Unpaid parental leave is 18 to 22 weeks.
Parent’s Leave in Detail
Parent’s Leave has the same paid rate as existing flat-rate maternity and paternity benefits (€245/week). It applies to parents of children born or adopted after November 1, 2019. Each parent gets 2 weeks paid parent’s leave up until their child’s 1st birthday. In addition, the government wants to eventually increase the period of paid leave up to a maximum of 9 weeks.
Employees must give 6 weeks’ notice to their employer before taking Parent’s Leave (a single 2-week period or over two separate weeks). There is no statutory requirement for employers to pay any additional salary to employees. However, most employers who already pay a ‘top-up’ to existing maternity and paternity benefits, make up the difference between base salary and the benefit payable.
Parental Leave in Ireland Trend
Ireland has a very tight labor market. As the competition for talent heats up, companies like Diageo are offering their male employees 6 months fully-paid paternity leave. This matches their female employees’ maternity benefit.