Humphreys welcomes positive response from Varadkar to call for paternity leave extension

08 July 2016

I would like to welcome the positive response to calls that I made last week for the provisions of the Paternity Leave legislation that is currently in the Oireachtas, to be extended to expectant families who are due to give birth in September.

In government, Labour provided for two weeks paid paternity leave for the first time under Budget 2016. It was always my understanding that the paternity leave scheme was to come into force from the beginning of September and I was disappointed when I saw original the Bill that this had been deferred to the end of that month.

This would have deprived thousands of families of the benefits of this important new scheme, which is why I called on Minister Varadkar to rectify the matter. In Report Stage amendments, circulated today, he has done precisely that, and I would like to welcome this move.

Paternity leave allows fathers to spend increased time with their children and families around the child’s birth.

Evidence from countries such as Norway shows that paternity leave – aside from its social benefits and positive impact on fatherhood – promotes equality for women and supports higher levels of female participation in the labour force.

I look forward to the full enactment of this progressive piece of legislation.

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