A series of amendments to parental leave were announced on Tuesday morning, which will see new fathers receive 10 days of paid leave on the birth of their child.

Currently, new fathers just have one day of paid leave, while mothers are eligible to 18 weeks maternity leave, 14 of which is paid by the employer while four weeks are paid at the national parental leave rate by the state. While maternity leave remains unchanged, paternity leave has been granted an additional nine days.

The changes were announced on Tuesday morning by Parliamentary Secretary Andy Ellul and serve to transpose the EU’s work-life balance directive.

New laws surrounding parental leave will see parents entitled to up to two months of paid leave at the national parental leave rate, and an additional two months of unpaid leave that are transferable from one parent to the other. Currently, each parent gets four months of unpaid leave.

It was explained that under the new rules, parental leave can be taken gradually throughout the first eight years of parenthood, however parents must take 50 per cent in the first four years – equating to four weeks.

Between the fourth and sixth years, parents are eligible to take two weeks paid leave, while the remaining two can be taken between the sixth and eighth years.

Furthermore, parents are being empowered to request flexible working arrangements from their employers for the first eight years of their children’s lives.

The legislative changes will come into effect on 2nd August, with Government to finance all measures until 2023. As of January 2024, the private sector will be legally required to finance the leave entitlement.

Carers leave

A new form of leave has also been introduced, allowing individuals to take time off to care for a dependent who is ill. A total of five days unpaid leave has been introduced.

Those eligible are individuals with family members who need caring for, or individuals who reside in the same household as another, not necessarily related, who also requires caring for.

This new tier of leave will not be taken from the personal or sick leave allotment.

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