HomeEmployment Law BlogParental Leave extension of four weeks to come into effect from September.

Parental Leave extension of four weeks to come into effect from September.

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The Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019 which came into effect on the 22nd of May 2019 introduces several changes to the Parental Leave Act 1998 in relation to Parental leave that will affect both employers and employees. The key changes are as follows: –

Parental Leave for parents of eligible children will see an extension in their parental leave in the period from the 1st of September 2019 to the 31st of August 2020 from 18 working weeks to 22 weeks per child. This will be further extended to 26 working weeks from the 1st of September 2020. Parents who have already used up their 18 weeks will be entitled to take the additional eight weeks.

The age of children for whom Parental leave can be taken is to be increased from 8 to 12. The applicable age in cases where a child is suffering from a long-term illness or disability is 16.

The Parental Leave and Benefits Bill 2019 which is expected to be introduced into law in November 2019 proposes to introduce the Governments Paid Leave Scheme under which the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection will pay parental benefit at the same rate as maternity and paternity benefit. The working parent will receive €245 per week, or an amount equivalent to illness benefit (whichever is the greater. This benefit will apply equally to employees and the self-employed.

Key points for Employers

  • To be eligible to take Parental leave the employee must have one years’ service.
  • Parental leave policies will need to be updated to accommodate these changes and the employer’s obligation to keep accurate records of all applications for Parental Leave.
  • The extension to Parental Leave is being introduced on a phased basis to allow employers time to prepare and adjust.
  • An employer may suspend any period of probation, apprenticeship or training while an employee is on parental leave.

For further information on Parental Leave contact Marc Fitzgibbon Senior Partner, mfitzgibbon@lavellepartners.ie or 01 6445800