Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Questions (262)

Peter Burke


262. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated full-year cost of extending paid maternity leave by four additional weeks. [27032/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Maternity Benefit is paid for 26 weeks at a rate of €245 per week. The 2019 Estimates for the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection provide for expenditure of approximately €256 million on Maternity Benefit. The estimated additional cost of extending the duration of maternity benefit for an additional four weeks would be approximately €39 million in a full year.

There would also be additional costs for employers including substitution and public sector pay costs which would be a matter for my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. Decisions around the extension of this benefit would have to be considered in a budgetary context.

I have also announced the introduction of a new paid parental benefit for parents which will support parents to spend additional time with their babies and provide more flexibility in managing a work life balance. This new benefit will provide for 2 weeks paid leave to each parent of a child, age under 1 year, on parental leave from work. These 2 weeks are additional to that already available under maternity benefit and paternity benefit.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.