The Parental Leave (Amendment) Bill 2017 (the Bill), which extends the applicability and duration of parental leave and which was passed by Dáil Éireann on 13 June 2018, was passed with amendments by Seanad Éireann on 8 May 2019.

The Bill will now be returned to Dáil Éireann for final approval before signing and enactment by the President which is expected to happen before the summer recess.

Parental Leave Update

We previously reviewed the proposed amendments to parental leave in Ireland when the Bill passed Dáil stage.

Currently, the Parental Leave Acts 1998 and 2006 entitle parents of, or persons acting in loco parentis to, children aged up to 8 years (or up to 16 years if the child has a disability or long-term illness) to 18 working weeks (4 months) of parental leave in respect of each child.

The Bill proposes to extend the parental leave entitlement to 26 weeks (6 months) in respect of each child. If passed, the additional 8 weeks provided for under the legislation will be made available to those parents who have already availed of the existing 18-week entitlement. The Government stated that it will phase the introduction of this additional 8 weeks, introducing an additional 4 weeks' parental leave from September 2019 and the remaining 4 weeks' parental leave from September 2020.

The legislation increases the age of the child up to which parental leave can be taken from 8 years to 12 years.

It remains to be seen if the proposals to amend parental leave law in Ireland will positively impact employees and employers.