The Government acknowledges the crucial role that family carers play and is fully committed to supporting carers in that role. This commitment is recognised in both the Programme for a Partnership Government and the National Carers’ Strategy.
My colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality, has policy responsibility for maternity leave, parental leave, force majeure leave and carer's leave.
My Department provides a range of supports to those who are caring for family members, friends or neighbours. These measures aim to recognise the needs of carers through the provision of appropriate income supports, to enable carers to remain in touch with the labour market to the greatest extent possible and to empower carers to participate fully in economic and social life.
These income supports include the following:
- Carer’s Allowance
- Carer’s Benefit
- Carer’s Support Grant
- Domiciliary Care Allowance
Carer's leave from employment is unpaid but the Carer's Leave Act ensures that people who need to avail of carer's leave will have their jobs kept open for them while they are on carer's leave. They may be eligible for Carer's Benefit if they have the required number of PRSI contributions or they may qualify for Carer's Allowance, which is means-tested, while they are on carer's leave.