Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman T.D. and the Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys T.D., today commenced the family leave provisions under the Family Leave and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2021, meaning parents can now avail of three weeks additional Parent’s Leave and Parent’s Benefit.
New provisions now available under the Family Leave and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2021 include:
- An additional three weeks of Parent’s Leave and Parent’s Benefit are available to each parent of a child born or adopted on or after November 1st 2019 (bringing the total to five weeks);
- the period in which the leave and benefit can be taken is being extended so that parents can now take the leave and avail of the benefit for up to two years from the birth or adoption of the child;
- Adoptive Leave and Benefit is being extended to male same sex couples; and
- Adoptive couples can now choose which of them will avail of Adoptive Leave, with Paternity Leave and Benefit being available for the other parent.
The Act provides working parents with an entitlement to an additional three weeks of paid Parent’s Leave for each parent – bringing the total to five weeks paid leave, per parent. The period in which the leave can be taken is extended to the first two years after the birth or adoptive placement of a child.
The extension will allow parents to spend time with their child in the earliest years. It is non-transferrable between parents to ensure that both parents are encouraged and supported in taking time out from work to spend time with their child.
The additional 3 weeks of Parent’s Leave and Parent’s Benefit is available to employees and the self-employed in respect of children born or adopted after 1 November 2019. Parent’s Benefit will be paid at the same rate as Maternity, Paternity and Adoptive benefits, which is €245 per week.
Adoptive Leave and Benefit is being extended to male same sex couples, fulfilling an important commitment in the Programme for Government.
Adoptive parents are now provided with greater flexibility to decide which parent will avail of adoptive leave and benefit, with paternity leave and benefit available to the parent not availing of adoptive leave.
Commenting on the commencement of the Act, Minister O’Gorman said:
“Supporting working parents to achieve a better work-life balance is something I and my Government colleagues are committed to, so I am delighted that parents can now take up three weeks additional parent’s leave and parent’s benefit.
“The Family Leave Act modernises the law in relation to both adoptive leave and parent’s leave, reflecting the diversity of Irish families in 2021 and acknowledges that, for many Irish families, both parents are working. Importantly, it also encourages the sharing of parental responsibilities equally between couples”.
Minister Humphreys commented:
“The first two years of life is an important time for both the new-born and their parents and I am delighted that today’s announcement will allow parents to spend more of this special time with their child so they can forge special memories together.
“I am particularly pleased today to extend Parent’s Benefit to 5 weeks for each parent and I urge everyone eligible to avail of this support. You can apply online via www.MyWelfare.ie.”
Notes to the Editor:
Extension of Parent’s Leave and Parent’s Benefit
The Parent’s Leave and Benefit Act 2019 introduced two weeks of paid Parents' Leave for each parent to be taken in the first year after the birth or adoptive placement of a child.
Following the commencement of the Family Leave and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2021, an additional three weeks of paid Parents' Leave is available to each parent, and the period in which the leave can be taken is extended to the first two years after the birth or adoptive placement of a child.
The extension to Parent’s Leave and Benefit Act 2019 follows a number of recent legislative reforms aimed at enabling working parents to spend more time with their children. These include the extension of unpaid Parental Leave to 26 weeks for a child under 12 years in 2020, the introduction of two week’s Parent’s Leave and Benefit in 2019 and the introduction of two weeks’ Paternity Leave in 2016.
The Adoptive Leave Act 1995 provides for an entitlement to 24 weeks leave for an employed adoptive mother or single adopting father. The 24 weeks start from the date the child is placed in the adopting parent’s care. An adoptive benefit is available to qualified parents. An additional 16 weeks may also be taken but the adoptive benefit is not available for this period.
The Family Leave and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2021 amends the Adoptive Leave Act 1995 to enable adoptive couples to choose which parent may avail of adoptive leave and, in doing so, rectifies an anomaly in the current legislation that left married male same-sex couples unable to avail of adoptive leave.
The Act also removes the presumption that the adoptive mother be the primary caregiver and permits families to choose the best option for their family. It provides for the availability of paternity leave and benefit to the parent who is not availing of adoptive leave.