August 23, 2016
Just in case you may not have noticed, Ireland was one of the few countries in Europe that did not offer fathers some form of paternity leave, with Irish employers not obliged to grant male employees paternity leave (either paid or unpaid) following the birth of their child.
The new regime is about to start the 1st September 2016 with paternity leave of two weeks paid at €230 per week and a further two weeks’ leave are available at any time in the 28 weeks following the birth of their child.
You might think this is good, but in fact most other countries within the EU offer some form of paternity leave. UK, Austria, Denmark, Italy, and France all provide two weeks, while the UK provide ‘Additional’ paternity leave allowing an employee to take up to 26 weeks’ leave to care for a child, on top of two weeks of ordinary paternity leave.
We at, John M Shanahan & Co, Chartered Accountants, Tullamore, Co Offaly take the view that its a benefit that to date has not been available to Irish fathers and helps to bring us into line with EU legislation.
Since Ireland was one of the few countries in Europe that did not offer fathers some form of paternity leave, most fathers would have to take unpaid leave-with the employer’s agreement or take holidays.
Parental leave has been available since 1998 but the uptake amongst fathers is as low as 5% because it is unpaid.
Employers should consider drawing up paternity leave policies for the new regime to set out how the employee can apply, and so on.
Meanwhile, the next budget is also expected to include an extra two weeks parental leave that can be shared between both parents.
It’s understood that both schemes will be covered by welfare payments, however employers will be able to voluntarily opt in to pay for the the extra shared parental leave.
If both these schemes come into effect, parents would be entitled to an extra four weeks leave by the beginning of next year, which in itself is a major shift in thinking.
Period of Notice
Paternity leave will usually need to be applied for four weeks in advance and taken in a single two week period.
• Paternity Benefit will be a taxable benefit just like Maternity Benefit.
• Paternity Benefit will not be subject to USC or PRSI.
• Any payments made on top of State Paternity Benefit will be taxed as normal.
Link to additional Information: http://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Paternity-Benefit-FAQ.aspx
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