Fianna Fáil proposals to allow parents to share maternity leave entitlements are now one step closer to becoming reality.
The Paternity Leave Bill, published by Fianna Fáil’s Jobs Spokesperson Mary White, passed through Committee Stage in the Seanad yesterday (26 February 2014). It proposes to allow mothers of new born babies to share their maternity leave and benefits if both parents chose to do so.
Senator White explained, “This Bill is a major milestone in the effort to achieve greater gender equality in the workplace. It’s also a major step towards offering greater supports to women who wish to set up their own businesses.
“There are many men who would welcome the opportunity to take some time out of work and stay home with their new born. There are also many women who feel they would like to get back to work earlier – particularly those who may run their own business and don’t want to take 6 months out.
“It is unfair to deny men the opportunity to spend that time with their baby if they are in a position to do so. It’s also unfair to deny working women the chance to get back to the workplace while a parent still cares for the baby at home. This Bill will give parents the option to make that choice. It would also apply in the area of civil partnership and adoption and would help encourage a more open society.
“This Bill will go a long way towards encouraging female entrepreneurship. Half as many women as men start up their own business in Ireland due to the barriers they face in becoming entrepreneurs. This Bill provides greater support to women looking to start up their own enterprise by offering them the flexibility to devote more time to their business and creating jobs.
“This is a constructive, non-partisan Bill and I very much welcome the Government’s support to date. Speaking in the Seanad this week, Minister of State Kathleen Lynch commended the proposals and the recognition of the father’s important role in nurturing a child. She said considers this move an important step towards promoting greater gender equality in Irish society.
“Now that this has passed through Committee stage in the Seand, I am calling on the Government to continue to support it through the final stages and to progress it in the Dáil. It’s important that this omission in our current laws is addressed,” concluded Senator White.