Written Answers. - Paternity Leave.

Eamon Ryan

Question:

98 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Finance the initiatives he intends to put in place to improve paternity leave arrangements here. [17897/03]

The Civil Service policy in relation to paternity leave entitles a father to three days special leave with pay on the birth or adoption of his child. This policy has been in place in the Civil Service since 1 January 2000. There are no plans to introduce any new initiatives in this area. In addition, civil servants who are parents are entitled to avail of parental leave consisting of 14 weeks unpaid leave for each child up to six years of age.

Paternity leave is one of the many work-life balance schemes in the human resource management policy for the Civil Service. It has been to the forefront in introducing initiatives to support work-life balance for all staff. Other schemes available to civil servants are worksharing – staff may avail of part-time work options such as a three or four day week or a shorter working day; term-time – parents may take ten or 13 weeks unpaid leave to match their children's summer holidays; flexitime, which gives staff flexibility to vary their starting and finishing times; career breaks under which staff may take up to two periods of five years leave without pay for domestic reasons, including child care; and special leave for domestic purposes whereby staff may avail of up to six months unpaid leave to care for an ill spouse or child. Pilot teleworking initiatives are also under way in a number of Departments and offices.

All of these schemes are in addition to statutory entitlements to carer's leave, maternity leave, adoptive leave and parental leave.

As Minister with responsibility for the employment conditions of civil servants, the standards set in the area of work-life balance policies are in line with best practice in this area.