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 responsibility for the legislation for the new parent’s leave and my Department is responsible for the associated parent's benefit.
The new scheme will provide two weeks paid 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.
Parent’s benefit will be paid at the same rate as existing maternity and paternity benefits at €245 per week. Two weeks parent’s benefit is estimated to cost approximately €32m in a full year. It estimated that each additional week of parent’s benefit will cost €15.8m in a full year.
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.
Decisions around the extension of parent's benefit would have to be considered in a budgetary context and the impact of additional leave on employers.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.