New flexibility for working parents welcomed
Sinn Fein Mid Ulster MLA Michelle O'Neill has welcomed the introduction of new legislation that affords working greater parents or those with caring responsibilities more rights in demanding flexible working.
Ms O'Neill said:
"While this new legal framework is very good for working parents it must only be the first step in fully supporting the invaluable role of carers in our society. The increases in paid maternity or adoptive leave will be welcomed by many mothers as will the new right to an additional period of paternity leave by new fathers.
"I very much welcome the right for carers to request flexible working because it is clear that it will allow them greater scope in how and when they provide care for their loved ones and also to continue in employment.
"However if we are truly to support carers we need to go much further. We need to do much more than recognise the invaluable role of carers in our society; we need to put in place the resources to support them.
"Across Ireland hundreds and thousands of people provide care for the ones they love. Families that have made the decision to care for their loved ones at home should be given as much assistance as possible. They are coping with physical and mental disability, with disability caused by aging. Yet the reality is that in too many cases they are not getting the support the need.
"Providing carers with respite is essential, yet, there is a serious shortage in the provision of respite care. There are also significant gaps in the provision of care packages for children and adults with disability and a deficit in the provision of mental health services particularly for children.
"We need action and money to support the many people living with disability who are left with little or no support. This means that we need a comprehensive strategy to improve services and the provision of care packages and improve support for carers. All of this also requires a financial commitment.
"Sinn Féin believes that we need priority resources, particular to expand and improve the provision of respite care. Sinn Féin are calling:
• Additional resources to secure additional respite beds
• A comprehensive strategy to improve services and the provision of care packages
• Resources to tackle the delay in care packages being put in place during the transition period from Child services to Adult services." ENDS