A new Act set to be approved by the Dáil could see parents enjoy a lot more time at home 2 years ago

A new Act set to be approved by the Dáil could see parents enjoy a lot more time at home

The new Act aims to give more flexibility to working parents.

An Act aiming to allow families to enjoy a better work-life balance is set to be approved by the Dáil this week.

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The Parental Leave (Amendment) Act sets out to permit parents to spend more time caring for their children while also providing flexibility in the workplace.

The draft law, which is sponsored by Social Democrats Róisín Shortall and Catherine Murphy, aims to amend the Parental Leave Act 1998 to extend unpaid parental leave from 18 weeks to 26 weeks; and to provide for related matters.

The Parental Leave Act 1998, as amended by the Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2006, allows parents to take parental leave from employment in respect of certain children. A person acting in loco parentis with respect to an eligible child is also eligible.

On 8 March 2013, the European Union (Parental Leave) Regulations 2013 increased the amount of parental leave available to each parent per child from 14 weeks to 18 weeks. (Those who have taken or are taking 14 weeks’ parental leave are also entitled to this extra four weeks.)

The draft law, which aims to extend unpaid parental leave from the current four months to six months while also raising the qualifying child age from eight to 12 years, boasts strong support through all the law-making phases.

It passed the committee stage back in May and now the Act will go on to the final Dáil stage, otherwise known as the report stage on Wednesday. It will then move on to be debated in the Seanad.

It's understood that the Act shall come into operation three months after its passing.

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