Latest press release from Social Democrat Jennifer Whitmore, issued on Friday, February 9th 2018…
Social Democrats Candidate for Wicklow, and the party spokeperson for Children, Cllr. Jennifer Whitmore has said that their proposed Parental Leave Bill – which passed second stage of the Dail this evening – would give working parents the opportunity to spend more time caring for their children and allow families maintain a better work-life balance.
The Social Democrats’ Parental Leave (Amendment) Bill allows parents to take a total of six months (26 weeks) unpaid leave from their jobs without their employment rights being affected. This is an increase on the current maximum of 18 weeks of unpaid parental leave per child aged up to eight years old – the minimum allowable under EU law. The Bill, which was taken at second stage today, was not opposed by the government and will now go forward to Committee Stage.
Speaking ahead of the introduction of the Bill in the Dáil today, party Co-Leader Róisín Shortall said, “Working parents lead very busy lives and are under constant pressure to do the best they can for their children whilst also holding down jobs so that they can pay their bills. Our Bill is about giving parents the option of taking more unpaid time off work to care for their children, if that is their wish and it makes economic sense for them.
“For parents with pre-school children in particular, unpaid parental leave might be a more economical alternative to paying for formal childcare. Childcare costs can prove a huge barrier for women to return to the workforce – in some cases, women return simply to keep their job rather than gaining any extra income.
On improving work-life balance, Councillor Whitmore said, “Parents can spread the 26 weeks of unpaid leave out over the years until their children reach the age of eight. They can use it to cover mid-terms or school summer holidays or simply maximise time with their children in their first year. This reform is about improving work-life balance for parents, encouraging women to remain in the workforce and helping reduce childcare costs.
“For employers who are keen to retain women workers, our proposals offer increased flexibility around work schedules that could make the difference between mothers staying in their jobs as productive members of the workforce, or quitting out of exhaustion and stress.
Whitmore added: “We recognise that unpaid parental leave is not a substitute for paid parental leave, and that parents should have greater access to paid parental leave to assist them in raising their families. However, under Dáil rules, opposition parties are prevented from proposing Bills where there is a cost to the State. This is why today’s Bill focuses on unpaid parental leave. “
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.