Just 1,052 Kildare dads have taken up the government’s offer of paid paternity leave since the measure was introduced a year ago.
Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty, yesterday launched an awareness campaign to encourage new or expectant fathers to apply for the two weeks payment from her Department.
Employed and self-employed fathers with the correct PRSI contributions are entitled to receive paternity benefit.
“The purpose of Paternity Benefit is to support new fathers to take time off work within the first 26 weeks following the birth of their child,” she said.
“New parents can choose to apply online for Paternity Benefit if they have a Public Services Card. Applications made online benefit from an automated decision process, where all conditions are fulfilled the person concerned will receive an award notification within seconds. Alternatively, anyone experiencing difficulty with making an online claim can contact my Department by e-mail and will receive a paper form.”
Full details are available on www.welfare.ie/paternitybenefit
“I would strongly urge all eligible parents to consider applying for Paternity Benefit when they take paternity leave. It is a precious time for new parents and the Department recognises how important this stage of family life is for parents,” she added.
“It is important that we continue to work to eliminate barriers to employment and education so as to ensure that we can deliver a Republic of opportunity that is fair to all - Paternity Benefit is a small but powerful support for young families in achieving just that."