Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Questions (408, 409, 410, 411, 412, 413, 415, 416, 417, 418, 421, 423, 425, 426, 445)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Question:

408. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if extended maternity leave will be granted to mothers due to go back to work during the Covid-19 lockdown; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5717/20]

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Seán Sherlock

Question:

409. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to plans to extend maternity benefit due to complications in securing childcare due to Covid-19. [5725/20]

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Niamh Smyth

Question:

410. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if consideration is being given to extend paid maternity leave due to Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5737/20]

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Darragh O'Brien

Question:

411. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if consideration has been given to extending paid maternity leave due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5752/20]

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Paul Murphy

Question:

412. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will extend maternity leave and maternity benefit by three months from the end of the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions for all persons currently claiming same or those that become eligible for maternity leave and benefit before the lifting of the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5754/20]

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Seán Fleming

Question:

413. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will consider extending paid maternity leave for an additional three months as a result of the Covid-19 crisis (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5911/20]

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Niall Collins

Question:

415. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to extend maternity leave as per a request by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6053/20]

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Denis Naughten

Question:

416. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to extend maternity leave for those currently availing of same in view of Covid-19 restrictions regarding childcare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6106/20]

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Gino Kenny

Question:

417. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will consider extending maternity leave and or maternity benefit by three months in response to the closure of childcare facilities as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic in view of the fact that many parents are facing job losses if they have to return to work with no available childcare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6222/20]

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Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

418. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a reply will issue to correspondence from a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6226/20]

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Norma Foley

Question:

421. Deputy Norma Foley asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the potential to extend maternity leave and benefit for those that lost the benefit during the Covid-19 pandemic will be examined. [6269/20]

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Marian Harkin

Question:

423. Deputy Marian Harkin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he is considering plans to extend paid maternity leave during the current Covid-19 crisis; and if not, if he will consider such an extension (details supplied). [6489/20]

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Marc Ó Cathasaigh

Question:

425. Deputy Marc Ó Cathasaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has made provisions for an extension to maternity leave for mothers that are due to return to work after maternity leave but that may be unable to do so due to a lack of appropriate childcare or concerns regarding health and safety in relation to their baby due to the Covid-19 crisis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6916/20]

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Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

426. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if maternity benefit will be extended for those that have had children born between January and March 2020 by three months in the interest of the healthy development of the children that have spent their first months amidst the Covid-19 restrictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7013/20]

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Frank Feighan

Question:

445. Deputy Frankie Feighan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to extend the period of allowed unpaid maternity leave to new mothers that are currently off work and are now on leave due to Covid-19. [6129/20]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 408 to 413, inclusive, 415 to 418, inclusive, 421, 423, 425, 426 and 445 together.

I am conscious of demands on parents at this time and hope that the additional measures to support working parents that I have introduced in recent years, including the new parent’s leave scheme and an extension of parental leave, are helping to ease some of these demands. These matters are being examined by Government.

As the law now stands, a mother is entitled to this leave irrespective of the duration of her current employment. The mother can take maternity leave from casual or part-time employment. She can take up to 26 weeks of paid maternity leave, and up to a further 16 weeks of unpaid leave. Two weeks must be taken before the baby is due, and at least four weeks must be taken after the birth. As Minister of State for Justice and Equality, the legislation that governs the provision of maternity leave is my responsibility. The provision of maternity benefit is under the remit of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

In addition to maternity leave, each parent may also avail of two weeks of parent’s leave during the first year of a child’s life and may qualify for parent’s benefit during this period.

Parental leave is also available which entitles parents to take unpaid leave from work to spend time looking after their children. Parents can take up to 22 weeks of parental leave for each eligible child before their 12th birthday.