A new bill introduced by Fianna Fail proposes allowing parents to split maternity leave.
.Fianna Fail has introduced a new piece of legislation that would allow both parents share the 26 maternity weeks currently available to mothers.
“It’s time that the State enables both parents share maternity leave, and recognise that work patterns are different now to what they were when the system was put in place,” Waterford TD Mary Butler explained.
The Shared Maternity Leave and Benefit Bill 2018 creates a statutory Parental Leave system that leaves it up to parents to decide what is best for them, their careers and their children.
“The current maternity leave mechanism is very restrictive, entitling mothers to the full 26 weeks of paid leave, while fathers are only permitted to two weeks paternity leave. This leaves no scope for the father to extend his leave unless he takes it out of his annual leave allocation," explained Deputy Butler.
“In some cases, it may make more sense for parents to split the maternity leave more evenly. Some companies may allow for more generous maternity leave arrangements than others, in which case, it may be more financially beneficial for the father to take the leave. Similarly, certain jobs may lend themselves better to taking periods of leave, and it cases where one of the parents is self-employed, it may make more sense for the other to take the bulk of the maternity leave.
The Fianna Fáil bill allows both parents of a child to share this 26 week period of paid maternity leave between them. It won’t place any additional cost on the Exchequer as it does not extend the current timeframe that already exists. It also won’t affect the two weeks of paternity leave that are already in place.