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Sinn Féin attempt to introduce Paternity Leave blocked

25 April, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Employment and workers Rights, Arthur Morgan T.D. today tabled amendments to the Parental leave (Amendment) Bill 2004 to introduce an entitlement to Paternity Leave.  There is no entitlement for new fathers to paternity Leave in the State at present.

Deputy Morgan said, “The Report of the Maternity Leave Working Group recommended that paternity leave should be dealt with as part of the Parental Leave (Amendment) legislation.    This bill inexplicably fails to implement that recommendation.

“There is no legal entitlement to paternity leave, paid or unpaid, in this state. A new father does not have the entitlement to as much as one day off when his child is born. 

“We rank bottom of the list in terms of Paternity Leave. Most countries in the EU offer paid paternity leave, from two days in Spain to two weeks in France, while in Norway new fathers are entitled to a full four weeks. Fathers north of the border are entitled to 2 weeks paternity leave yet in this state there is no entitlement at all. 

“To rectify that failure to address of paternity leave in this legislation, I have tabled amendments to introduce a right for working fathers to two weeks paternity leave. 

“This is the minimum of what fathers should be entitled to. The reality is that we are talking of very little time.  Given that most families nowadays only have 2 children, we are talking of 10 days twice in a lifetime.  Yet these days are vital to allow fathers to offer necessary support to mothers in the first days of their children lives and in giving fathers the time to bond with their children.  We should be facilitating fathers playing an active role in their children’s lives.” ENDS

Note to editor: Below is the Sinn Féin amendment. It was disallowed on the basis that it would potentially involve a cost to the exchequer. 

New Section on Paternity Leave

Page 10, to insert between lines 7 and 8

9. - The Principal Act is amended by the insertion of a new part between Part II and Part III


14. – (1) An employee who is the natural or adoptive father of a child shall be entitled to paid leave from his employment, to be known and referred to in this Act as "paternity leave", for a period of 2 working weeks to enable him to take care of the child.

(2) The period of paternity leave shall commence

(a) from the date of the child’s birth (whether this is earlier or later than expected) or placement, or

(b) from a chosen number of days or weeks after the date of the child’s birth (whether this is earlier or later than expected) or placement, or

(c) from a chosen date later than the first day of the week in which the baby is expected to be born or placed,

and can start on any day of the week on or following the child’s birth or placement but must be completed  within 56 days of the actual date of birth or placement of the child, or if the child is born early, within the period from the actual date of birth up to 56 days after the first day of the expected week of birth.” 

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