Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan, Niamh Smyth, has said the extension of unpaid parental leave from 18 weeks to 26 weeks will allow families to spend far more time with their children in their early years and give piece of mind to parents.

Deputy Smyth explained, “Many families have contacted me explaining how difficult it has been to maintain employment with young children. The passing of this Bill will take pressure off young families.

“From September 1st of this year parents with children of 12 years or younger will be able to take up to six months unpaid leave from their jobs. The changes will give piece of mind to working parents. In the event a young child has a serious illness there will be an option for families to take time away from their jobs with security that the break is enshrined in law.

“This is a vital piece of legislation for families and it is very welcome that it has become a reality,” concluded Deputy Smyth.