In the latest development of plans to extend parental leave in Ireland, the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, signed the commencement order for the Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019 on 23 July 2019.
This means that from 1 September 2019 onwards, parents will be able to benefit from an additional four weeks’ unpaid parental leave where their children are aged 12 or under (or up to age 16 in the case of children with a disability or long-term illness). This change will bring the statutory parental leave entitlement from 18 to 22 weeks with a further increase of four weeks to take effect in 2020. As a result, eligible parents will be entitled to 26 weeks unpaid parental leave from 1 September 2020 onwards.
Parents who have already taken some, or all, of their existing 18-week parental leave entitlement, and whose children are still within the relevant age thresholds when the change comes into force, will also be able to benefit from the additional leave.
At this stage, the key action point for employers is to review and update existing policies and procedures to make sure the business is ready when the parental leave entitlements are extended on 1 September 2019.