From September 2016, every employer is responsible for offering new fathers two weeks paternity leave. The state will contribute €230 per week in line with maternity pay and the leave can be taken at any time within 28 weeks of the birth. In a welcome move for sole traders and SME’s, self-employed fathers can also avail of the scheme. While Ireland has begun to drag itself off the bottom of European league tables when it comes to family leave, there is a long road ahead before we even come close to the benefits offered by the Scandinavian world leaders in this area.
While the passing of the Family Leave Bill signals a move towards gender equality and other commendable aims such as the inclusion of male same-sex couples that adopt, business owners will be left wondering what their responsibilities will be when the bill comes into force. With the uptake projected to be strong, employers are advised to put in place a robust paternity leave policy outlining how it can be applied for and to what extent, if any, the state payment will be “topped up” to reflect the employee’s weekly salary.
For advice on how to prepare your Paternity leave strategy, contact us by using the link below.