Deputy James Lawless has urged prospective parents in Kildare to begin the process of applying for Paternity Benefit four weeks before their leave dates. Under new legislation the rationale is to support new fathers to take time off work to assist with caring for their new born or newly adopted child.

At a recent Oireachtas briefing in Leinster House with the Department of Social Protection Deputy Lawless was informed that only 1800 claims have been submitted for Paternity Benefit with 1776 being awarded.

Deputy Lawless said “I would urge those prospective fathers to begin the process of applying for their leave four weeks before they intend to take it. It is my understanding only 79 claims have been rejected since its inception. This was mainly due to a lack of contributions. Provided you have worked consistently you are entitled to this leave.

“In related developments both Paternity and Maternity Leave can now be applied for online. Surprisingly only 15 applications have been receive through the online system since September 2016 according to the Department. I would recommend people use this online system as it works out quicker resulting in payment sooner.

“Should anyone have any questions on these new developments I would be delighted to meet them in my Maynooth and Naas offices to assist them.”