New entitlement to benefit parents

The Government has published a new bill that will be of particular interest to parents.

The Parent’s Leave and Benefit Bill 2019 (the Bill) will allow parents of new-borns to enjoy an extra two weeks paid leave. It will apply to parents of babies born or adopted from November 1st 2019 onwards.

This Bill is an additional family-friendly entitlement that working parents can avail of. However, its introduction creates more work for employers. They face a broadening range of statutory employee entitlements and associated record-keeping requirements.

Use it or lose it

The Bill is expected to pass into law in the coming weeks to allow it to take effect from November 1st 2019. Once in effect, both parents will be entitled to take 2 weeks’ paid parent’s leave for any child who is born, or adopted, from November 1st 2019.

The entitlement is subject to certain limitations, including:

  • Parent’s leave will only be available to employees in the first year following the birth or placement of the child.
  • Employees will not be entitled to transfer their paid parent’s leave entitlement to one another.

Fathers, in particular, are being targeted by this new benefit. They are less likely than mothers to take time off to spend with their new-born, something which the government want to change.

A weekly payment of €245 will be made by the Department of Social Affairs and Social Protection to the parent. Whether both parents will avail of the state benefit remains to be seen.

As many employers can’t afford to provide a salary top-up, the likelihood of both parents relying on the state benefit when family finances are already strained is open to question.

Possibilities for confusion

There are two sides to this new benefit. On one side, parents will welcome the chance of an extra two weeks with their new baby. On the other, employers need to stay on top of the widening range of statutory benefits.

Existing family-friendly entitlements already enjoyed by employees include:

  • Maternity leave and benefit
  • Paternity leave and benefit
  • Adoptive leave and benefit
  • Unpaid parental leave (recently increased by four weeks)

The bottom line is that employers need to understand their employees’ entitlements. Existing documentation and procedures will need to be updated to ensure that both employers and employees know their statutory obligations.

If you have questions regarding the new parent’s benefit and how it might affect your business, speak with an expert on 01 886 0350. You can also complete a contact form to receive a callback.

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