26 April 2017

Labour Party spokesperson on Children and Youth affairs, Jan O’Sullivan has welcomed the European Commission’s decision to include an improved right to parental leave in the European Pillar of Social Rights.

“I strongly welcome the decision by the European Commission to include an improved right to parental leave as part of their effort to create a more social Europe.

“Labour has a strong record in helping working parents. We ensured a second free pre-school year became available. We also introduced paid paternity leave for the first time to acknowledge the role of dads in raising their children.

“Childcare costs often play a key role for women when deciding to go back to work after having a baby. In Ireland, where childcare costs are among the highest in Europe, it is time for the Government to get real on parental leave.

“As well as protecting the six months maternity leave and two weeks paternity leave delivered by Labour, we propose an additional four weeks paid parental leave. This leave would be shared between both parents, with a use-it-or-lose-it clause built in to prevent mothers from always having to bear the responsibility of parenting during these early years. This should just be the first step towards providing all families with 12 months of parental leave.”

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