Changes to Parental Leave
Changes coming into effect from 1st September 2019
The existing Parental Leave Act will be amended from 1st September 2019 which will have a significant impact for all employers.
The specific changes that are coming into effect are;
- The current amount of parental leave per employee, per child is 18 weeks. This will increase to 22 weeks from 1st September 2019.
- Employees who have already taken their full 18 weeks allowance will be entitled to avail of the additional 4 weeks if their child is within the age limits.
- The age threshold of the child for whom the employee wishes to avail of parental leave will increase from 8 years to 12 years old. In the case of a child with a disability, the threshold of 16 years remains unchanged.
Further changes proposed for November 2019
In addition to these changes, a new Parental Leave and Benefit Bill is due to come into being in November 2019, which will entitle employees (each parent) to 2 week’s paid parental leave during the first year of a child’s life. There currently is no such payment. This is paid by the government, not the employer.
What this means for employers;
- Parents will receive 2 weeks per child paid parental leave, which is to be taken within the first 52 weeks of the date of birth of a child or in the case of adoptive children, 52 weeks from the date of placement.
- The payment is to come directly from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and will be at the same rate as Maternity and Paternity Benefit – €245 per week or the rate of illness benefit whichever is higher. Employers can top up this payment at their own discretion, however, this is not a requirement.
Further changes coming / proposed in 2020 and 2021
The current amount of parental leave per employee, per child is 18 weeks. This will increase to 22 weeks from 1st September 2019 as we have outlined above. It will increase further from 1st September 2020, when it will go to 26 weeks per employee per child.
Employees who have already taken their full 22 weeks allowance will be entitled to avail of the additional 4 weeks if their child is within the age limits.
The age limit will remain at 12 years of age and 16 years for a child with a disability.
The government have made a commitment to increase the payment from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to 7 weeks paid parental leave in 2021.
Socially these are very welcome changes, showing a commitment from the Irish Government to support employees with childcare responsibilities. Practically however, there are some challenges that come with these changes for the Irish employer.
How we can help
These changes will require you to update your Parental Leave policy and procedures to reflect the changes coming in from 1st September 2019, and proposed for November 2019, as well as those due to come into effect in 2020 and 2021 also.
We provide employers with support and advice, by phone, email and face-to-face, for all employment law and HR matters.
We can provide you with an up-to-date Parental Leave policy or we can update your existing policy.
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