A private member’s Bill to increase the entitlement to unpaid parental leave from 18 to 26 weeks has been approved by the Dail and will be available from later this year.
The legislation, introduced three years ago by the Social Democrats and agreed upon by all parties, will also increase the qualifying age of children in the scheme from 8 to 12.
The extra leave will be introduced over two years with an increase to 22 weeks from September and to 26 weeks in September of next year.
TD Róisín Shortall, who championed the legislation in the Dáil, said it was a “great relief” to see it passed. She said there was interest in the legislation as parents were under excessive pressure and “put to the pin of their collar to get by and keep the show on the road”.
Working parents face many stresses & challenges#SocDems Bill to extend unpaid parental leave offers more flexibility.
The Bill finished its Oireachtas journey tonight & will come into force on 1st September. @RoisinShortall says we need serious public debate on #worklifebalance pic.twitter.com/sBSw2Co2qJ
— Social Democrats (@SocDems) May 14, 2019
Sinn Féin justice spokesman Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said it was challenging to raise a child in a society increasingly focused on work and schemes like this were vitally important.