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NWC calls for the three-week extension of paid Parent’s Leave to be delivered without delay

Published: Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The National Women’s Council (NWC) has made a Submission to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Children, Disability, Equality and Integration on the General Scheme of the Parent’s Leave and Benefit (Amendment) Bill, calling for the immediate delivery of the three-week extension of paid Parent’s Leave.

The Government committed to increasing paid Parent’s Leave from 2 weeks to 5 weeks for each parent of all children born or adopted on or after 1 Nov 2019. Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O'Gorman has still not enacted the legislation.

Orla O’Connor, Director of the National Women’s Council (NWC) said,

“The pandemic has been an incredibly challenging time for women and families who are under immense pressure to manage work with additional childcare responsibilities, a problem which has been exacerbated by the continued closures of schools and childcare services.  As the weeks go on without any action from the Government, women and families are under increased difficulty to manage. In particular women parenting alone are facing significant challenges without support. We are urging the Oireachtas Joint Committee to acknowledge the mounting pressure on women and families every week this legislation is not enacted and to ensure the Government acts now to deliver the promised three additional weeks of paid Parent’s Leave without further delay.”

Sandra McCullagh, Women’s Economic Equality Coordinator said,

“There are further changes that could be made to the Parent’s Leave Bill to better support women and families. In particular, the significant challenges faced by lone parents, 86% of whom are women, must be addressed to ensure they receive the same level of support under the scheme as two parent families. The legislation must be amended further to increase the Parent’s Benefit payment if taking leave is to be a realistic option for all families.

While the additional three weeks paid Parent’s Leave is needed right away, under the EU Work Life Balance Directive, Ireland has an obligation to provide a total of nine weeks of paid Parent’s Leave per parent by 2022, and this must be a key priority for the Government in Budget 2022.”

Linda Kelly, mother to two young children said,

“Women are really struggling to manage childcare during the pandemic. While some employers have been flexible, many women are finding they can’t take the additional three weeks of paid Parent’s Leave until the necessary legislation is introduced by the Government. Extending the leave now is a crucial step towards alleviating some of the pressure that many women and families with young children are under.” 

You can view the Submission here.

NWC is currently calling on supporters to contact their TDs through our #EveryWeekCounts campaign, urging Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O'Gorman to immediately extend paid Parent's Leave by the promised three weeks per parent. More information on our #EveryWeekCounts campaign can be found here


For more information, please contact Laura Pakenham, Digital Communications Officer, NWC, Tel. 085 8619087.