Under the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016, a new parent can avail of 2 weeks leave. The parent may also qualify for Paternity Benefit. The entitlement applies to the father of the child; the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the mother of the child; the parent of a donor-conceived child within the meaning of the provisions of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015; and, in the case of adoption, the parent who is not the qualifying adopter for the purposes of Adoptive Leave.
As an application for paternity leave is made directly to the employer, my Department is, therefore, not in a positions to record statistics on uptake. However, the Minister for Social Protection records information on uptake of the associated Paternity Benefit. I can confirm to the Deputy that the number of Paternity Benefit claims awarded between 2018 to the end of October 2021 is as follows:
2021 (to 31/10) 21,675
My Department is continuing work to understand the barriers to the uptake of family leaves and will bring forward legislative amendments or policy proposals where major challenges are identified. A successor to the National Strategy for Women and Girls will be developed in 2022 and I expect that gender roles in caring responsibilities will be considered in this context.