One of the best parenting stories of 2016 was the introduction of the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act which means new dads are now entitled to a new Paternity Benefit and two weeks statutory paternity leave.
This package deal can be started within six months of the birth or adoption of your new baby, and apply to births after September 1st 2016. The rate of pay is the same as statutory maternity leave at €230 a week and based on the same tax criteria.
How Do I Apply?
It’s best to apply in writing before the birth or adoption. If your employer provides this kind of paid leave after the child is adopted/born, it’s a negotiation between the employer and employee. This kind of arrangement is not covered by employment law so it is at the discretion of the employer whether they will provide time off as paternal leave.
It’s vital you tell your boss you are going to be taking paternity leave no later than four working weeks before you intend to take it, and you need to provide proof of the expected arrival date of your child.
There are some employers who provide paid leave for male employees following the birth, for example the civil service provides three days paid leave in respect of children born on or after January 1st 2000 and children adopted after 1st January 2000.
The benefits of this new paternity leave package are numerous. As a new dad, you’ll have precious bonding time with your new arrival, and be able to be there for your partner as you adjust to life with baby. Shared parental leave is also a bonus for mothers, as they can work in a more flexible way and employers will be less likely to discriminate against working mums. Hopefully this progress will continue, and make parenting a more even playing field for mums and dads alike!
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