Delays in Parent’s Benefit scheme ‘failing families under pressure’ – Claire Kerrane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has said that the Government is failing parents by the slow pace at which additional Parent’s Benefit of 3 weeks is being introduced.
Her comments follow revelations that parents may have to wait until April of next year to avail of three weeks parent’s leave which the Government pledged last summer.
Teachta Kerrane said:
“I have been vocal in expressing my concern for some time now about the Government’s poor handling of this issue. Last month, the Budget pledged an additional three weeks parent’s leave with no detail whatsoever on when it will be introduced, who is eligible and most importantly, when parents can avail of it.
“Such vagueness is wholly inappropriate for a policy of this importance for families across the country. This is at a time when parents are under immense pressure. In some cases their maternity leave has come to an end, they are expected back at work and yet, they cannot access childcare. Due to Covid-19, many crèches have re-opened with reduced capacity and many are not taking young babies.
“Minister Humphreys has confirmed at Committee, that parents will not be paid their Parent’s Benefit until the end of March due to difficulties establishing an IT system to process eligible claims. She did add that parents will be able to take the leave sooner, as soon as the relevant legislation is passed however, they won’t be paid until April.
“This ongoing poor handling of this issue is causing huge anger and confusion for parents who are trying to make decisions about caring for their new baby and some being left with no option but to take unpaid leave, leaving them under financial strain.
“I am once again urging the Government to take this issue seriously and give families the clarity they need. Parents are under huge pressure and they need support and clarity now, not vague promises and unnecessary delays.”