Paternity leave first step in fighting childcare crisis – Brady
Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on Social Protection John Brady said today, that despite welcoming the Paternity Leave and Benefit Bill, the Government need to go further in addressing the childcare crisis.
Deputy Brady said:
“It is simply not enough for the Government to introduce paternity leave pat themselves on the back and leave it at that. There is a crisis in childcare that goes much further than this Bill and it needs to be tackled.
“The 26 weeks of paid maternity leave that new mothers in this state are entitled to is paid at a low flat rate and it is one of the lowest levels of payment in the EU. €230 per week for mothers to remain at home from work is simply not enough and it is leading to hardship for parents.
“According to the OECD, Ireland has the highest childcare costs in the EU. Nothing is being done to tackle this and introducing paternity leave will not address this issue which has been ongoing and ignored by Government for years.
“Across the European Union, childcare costs around 12% of a family’s income, but in Ireland, it accounts for 35%.
“With this, the Government has taken away the lone parent allowance and expects lone parents to find employment while paying these massive costs for childcare on a reduced income. It really makes no sense.
“The absence of paid paternity leave to date has been a stain on successive government’s parental policy. This new bill should be implemented immediately, as proposed in Sinn Féin’s Budget 2016 submission A Fair Recovery.
“However, it must not be taken that the job is done once the Bill goes through. There must be a wider approach to organise leave and tackle the childcare crisis in Ireland.”