Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (600)

Róisín Shortall


600. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the way in which parents of children with autism and other special needs are considered to meet the criteria for disability under the provisions of unpaid parental leave legislation and therefore qualify for a higher child qualifying age under the legislation; and the mechanisms in place to ensure that his Department is informed of difficulties for parents of special needs children meeting the criteria for the higher age bracket. [35463/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, under the Parental Leave Act 1998 “a ‘disability’, in relation to a child, is defined as “an enduring physical, sensory, mental health or intellectual impairment of the child such that the level of care required for the child is substantially more than the level of care that is generally required for children of the same age who do not have any such impairment".  

For the purposes of establishing an entitlement to parental leave until a child is 16, any child that meets these criteria is considered to have a disability.   

I am not aware of any issues concerning parents of disabled children experiencing difficulties taking parental leave under the legislation, however if parents do encounter any such difficulties, they can avail of the dispute resolution mechanisms under Part IV of the Parental Leave Act, 1998.

Question No. 601 answered with Question No. 533.