Thursday, 19 September 2019

Questions (239)

Pearse Doherty


239. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of introducing one, two, three and six weeks, respectively, of paid parental leave to be taken by either parent. [38111/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

In Budget 2019 I announced the introduction of a new social insurance based parent’s benefit scheme to take effect in late 2019. The Department of Justice and Equality has policy responsibility for the new parent’s leave and my Department is responsible for the associated parent's benefit.

The new scheme will provide two weeks leave to both parents, including those who adopt a child, who are employees or self-employed and who take parent’s leave from their employment to care for their child. This is in addition to existing maternity, paternity and adoptive leave entitlements. The scheme will support parents during the first year of the child's life, in line with the Programme for Government commitment. Child development outcomes are strongest when parents are facilitated to provide extended care for their children within the home during this first year.

The cost of providing the benefit to both parents for 1 week is €15.8m. The costs increase to €31.6m, €47.4 or €94.8m for 2, 3 or 6 weeks benefit respectively. This assumes the benefit will be paid at the same rate as existing maternity and paternity benefits at €245 per week. There will also be additional costs for employers covering substitution pay costs. Public service pay costs is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.