Parental leave and benefits extended

The number of parents taking leave has grown over recent years.

The amount of time that parents can take paid parental leave and benefit has been extended.

From today, parents can take up to seven weeks leave. Financial support from the State will increase from five weeks to seven weeks.

Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys and Children's Minister Roderic O'Gorman made the announcement this morning.

51,400 parents took the leave last year, compared with 16,700 in 2020.

The support applies to both parents and the Government says it is part of its ambition "to ensure that parents can enjoy meaningful quality time with their new-born in the knowledge they will be financially supported".

Parent’s Leave and Benefit is available to anyone with a child under two years of age or who has adopted a child within the last two years.

Speaking today, Minister Humphreys commented:

“I’m delighted that from today, tens of thousands of families across the country will benefit from seven weeks paid parent’s leave and benefit. This is a support that we have increased over several Budgets and the significant raise in take-up demonstrates just how popular it is with parents.

“I believe strongly that the first few weeks and months spent with a new-born son or daughter is so important.

Minister O’Gorman commented:

“Welcoming a child into the world is one of the most important moments in a parent’s life. We want to ensure that new parents are supported to spend quality time with their babies in those first weeks and months, and be there to share special bonding moments.

“Since the formation of this Government, we have increased Parent’s Leave and Benefit from two weeks to seven weeks, enabling tens of thousands of new parents to take time away from work knowing that they are financially supported."