Written Answers. - Parental Leave Act.

Paul McGrath

Question:

241 Mr. McGrath asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the plans he has to compensate parents who were denied similar treatment to their European counterparts under the Parental Leave Act, 1998, in view of the recent decision of the European Commission concerning the Act; the plans he has to amend this Act; if so, the timescale in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11583/00]

The Parental Leave Act, 1998, which implements the parental leave Directive, 96/34/EC, came into operation on 3 December 1998. The European Commission issued a reasoned opinion, dated 3 April 2000, to the effect that Ireland, by restricting the right to parental leave to employees with children born or adopted on or after 3 June 1996, has not correctly transposed the EU directive on parental leave. The Commission has requested that Ireland take the measures necessary to comply with the reasoned opinion within two months following notification. My Department is currently in consultation with the Attorney General's office with a view to identifying, as a matter of urgency, the measures required to be put in place to give effect to the reasoned opinion including the issue of entitlement to parental leave in respect of children born or adopted between 4 December, 1993 and 2 June, 1996. Initial indications are that it may be possible to amend the Parental Leave Act by way of statutory instrument rather than by primary legislation.