Fears mums will cut time with babies if benefit hit
WORKING mothers have complained that they will have less time to spend with their babies due to the decision to tax maternity benefit for the first time.
There were a flood of calls to the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI) after the Irish Independent reported how the budget change was due to cost mothers up to €2,700 per child.
One of the key concerns voiced by pregnant mothers was that it would make it much harder for them to take unpaid leave to stay longer with their new babies – after their six months of paid maternity ran out.
NWCI policy officer Ann Irwin said it was a "short-sighted" move by the State.
Currently, working women going on maternity leave only have to pay tax on the 'top up' payments by their employers.
However, the taxation of maternity benefit from July 1 will mean women getting the average payment of €6,800 in maternity benefit over six months will have up to €2,700 taken back by the Revenue.
In the Dail, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore insisted that the decision to tax maternity benefit was "not a cut".
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin told Mr Gilmore to "stop playing games", saying there was a clear reduction in the value of maternity benefit.
Last year, around 45,000 working mothers received maternity benefits from the state at a cost of €303m.