Fitzgerald marks Father’s Day with publication of Paternity Bill
Local TD and Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald marked Father’s Day by confirming publication of the Paternity Bill to provide fathers with two weeks of paternity leave and two weeks of paternity benefit.
Fitzgerald and her colleague Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar TD visited Farmleigh on Father’s Day to promote the Bill to families. It will be formally published today (Monday) and introduced to the Dáil this coming Friday.
Fitzgerald said: “This legislation has been a priority for me since the new Partnership Government was established in May. This will be very welcome news for local fathers and local families, and will afford them the opportunity to be more involved at the earliest stages of a child’s development. In fact it will be beneficial for the whole family, as studies show that targeting investment in a child’s early years leads to better outcomes for both the child and wider society.
“I have been a strong advocate for the necessity of paid paternity leave for many years. Consistent findings show that targeting investment in a child’s early years leads to better outcomes for both the child and wider society.
“As former Minister for Children I know how important it is for fathers to have the opportunity to be involved at the earliest stages of a child’s development. All evidence suggests that the support of both parents at an early stage is in the best interests of the child.
“The Department of Social Protection will provide paid paternity benefit of €230 per week for the two weeks of Paternity Leave. Employers will also have the option of providing a further top-up to the dad's regular salary if they so choose. I’m also very happy that the 256,000 self-employed men in Ireland will be able to take paid Paternity Benefit for the very first time.
“When enacted, this legislation will allow new fathers to start the combined package of paternity leave and paternity benefit, at any time within the first six months following birth. It will also apply to the fathers of newly adopted children.
“I strongly support the Government’s commitment to significantly increase parental leave over the next five years and cut the cost of childcare. I want to give every child the best start in life and believe we should focus investment on early years and early intervention, in order to tackle the barriers that citizens face at the earliest possible opportunity and improve the lives of everyone in Lucan, Clondalkin and the surrounding areas.”