Question: I heard that there will be changes to parental leave later this year. What are they?
Answer: A number of changes to parental leave are due to take place in 2019 and 2020. Currently parents (and people acting in loco parentis) can take 18 weeks unpaid parental leave on behalf of children up to age eight.
A phased extension to parental leave is planned. From September 1, 2019, parental leave increases by four weeks to 22 weeks.
From September 1, 2020, parental leave will increase again by four weeks to 26 weeks.
The age of eligible children increased from 8 to 12 years of age from September 1 last. Currently, if your child has a disability or a long-term illness, you can take parental leave up until their sixteenth birthday — there is no change to this provision.
If you have already taken some, or all of the current entitlement of 18 weeks parental leave, you will get the additional weeks of parental leave, provided your child is still under the qualifying age.
A new paid Parental Leave Scheme that will allow parents to take two weeks paid leave each during their child’s first year is expected from November 2019.
Legislation needs to be enacted before this change can come into effect. You can follow the progress on oireachtas.ie.
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