The Government has passed a legal amendment to allow fathers to take up to two weeks’ paid paternity leave.
The new legislation will be brought in from September 2016. Fathers will be entitled to €230 a week, similar to the maternity benefit that mothers receive in Ireland.
On making the announcement, Minister Fitzgerald said: “The introduction of paternity leave and paternity benefit will have a positive on gender equality. Ireland is one of the few European countries without such leave. “Evidence shows that fathers want to spend time caring for and being with their children and families. Currently fathers use other existing leave arrangements to take time off around the birth of their child to support their families.”
The new laws will allow new Fathers to take their leave at any stage, within 26 weeks of the birth.
Minister Ó Ríordáin added: “This allows fathers to spend increased time with their children and families around the child’s birth.
“Evidence from countries such as Norway shows that paternity leave – aside from its social benefits and positive impact on fatherhood – promotes equality for women and supports higher levels of female participation in the labour force.”
Currently Japan and South Korea offer the most paternity leave, lasting a full year.
Women in Ireland are entitled to 26 weeks of paid maternity leave, with another 16 additional weeks unpaid. Maternity benefit is paid at a rate of €230.