From this September employers in Ireland can expect applications from new fathers for two weeks’ paternity leave following the introduction of new legislation.
That means it’s now time for employers to conceive new paternity policies and procedures or at least overhaul their existing ones to ensure employment law compliance.
The Government this week formally agreed to legislate to allow for fathers to take a fortnight in paid paternal leave. The law change – which was initially announced in the budget – is expected to be in place by the end of September.
It would prudent for employers to be prepared well in advance of September to deal with any applications that will arise. It’s important to have all the answers to potential questions employees may pose by ensuring that your policies and procedures on paternity leave are fully up to date and then clearly communicated.
WHAT PATERNITY LEAVE LAW MEANS FOR EMPLOYERS
The facts are quite straight forward. Statutory paternity benefit will amount to €230 per week – in line with maternity leave and based on the same PRSI contribution requirements. Under the new legislation new fathers are entitled to take two weeks’ leave at any time within 26 weeks of birth.
Employers must remember that the granting of applications for paternity leave is no longer at their discretion. It is important that employers are ready for the changes when they are introduced in September as part of the Family Leave Bill.
DO EMPLOYERS TOP-UP PATERNITY LEAVE
Employers will have the option as with maternity benefit of ‘topping up’ the statutory paternity leave payment. However, topping up the statutory payment is not a legal requirement although some employers may choose to offer this benefit.
It is also worth noting that the Labour Party has proposed introducing three months’ parental leave if re-elected. The new benefit would be in addition to paternity and maternity leave and could be split between the two parents.
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