Galway TD Claire Kerrane has said that more clarity is needed on the provision of three weeks of additional Parent’s Benefits announced in Budget 2021.
One item in the €18 billion budget announced this week was that Parent’s Benefits will be increased to five weeks for parents of children born or adopted from November 2019.
Deputy Kerrane, who is the Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, said that there has been “no information whatsoever” provided about when this will be brought in for parents, and who is eligible.
“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.”
Up until now, parents have been able to take two weeks of paid leave in the first year of their child’s life.
This additional leave announced in the budget will be available at any point in the first two year’s of the child’s life according to Deputy Kerrane, who said she received confirmation of this from Minister Heather Humphreys.
The Minister also said that legislation will be required for the implementation of this additional leave, but the timeframe “remains unclear” on this Kerrane said.
“This lack of information 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,” Claire Kerrane said.
“I now understand that the additional leave announced earlier this week requires a system change in the Department and it appears that this is going to take significant time before it is introduced.”
Clarity is needed for the sake of parents and their children on how Parent’s Benefits will be managed in the months and weeks ahead, she concluded.