Labour to facilitate Parental Leave Bill in Seanad

05 February 2019

Labour Seanad Whip, Sen. Kevin Humphreys has confirmed that the Labour group will tomorrow, Wednesday 6th February facilitate the committee stage of the Social Democrat’s Parental Leave (Amendment) Bill 2017.

It follows repeated stalling by Fine Gael on the bill, that had previously passed the Dáil unopposed.

Sen. Humphreys said:

“Tomorrow during Labour Party Seanad private members time, we will facilitate committee stage of the Social Democrat’s Parental Leave (Amendment) Bill 2017.

“Unfortunately, the Government have been sending mixed messages on whether they would allow the bill to be implemented. It was due to progress on 19th December but at the last moment Fine Gael pulled its support, claiming a money message was required and citing complications that they hadn’t raised when the bill pwas passing through the Dáil.

“Labour wants to ensure this common sense measure passes quickly into law. It would extend the duration of unpaid parental leave from 18 weeks to 26 weeks, and raise the qualifying age from 8 years to 12, matching EU proposals. It would also ensure it was available to all parents with a qualifying child.

“The bizarre approach by the Fine Gael Government amounts to stalling tactics. When parental leave was last legislated for in 2006 there was no requirement for a money message when the max age was raised from 5 to 8 and a statutory entitlement to 14 weeks was provided for. In 2013, when Labour was in government, this was extended by regulation to 18 weeks at no additional cost. In fact it supports the increase participation and retention of women in the workforce.

“For a number of years Labour has called for the introduction of paid parental leave. The last budget provided for two paid weeks but it won’t be introduced until the end of 2019. In the meantime this bill if it became law would allow parents, at their own cost, to take additional leave. Where employers need to hire in additional staff the cost will be offset by the savings on a parent’s wage.

“I hope Fine Gael will reconsider their efforts to stall this common sense proposal and allow it to quickly become law. It is something that should be provided for quickly as no parent takes leave that costs them money for the sake of it.”

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