Saturday 3 December 2016

Calls for Government to introduce incentives to encourage fathers to take paternity leave

Published 20/05/2015 | 13:22

Deirdre Clune
Deirdre Clune

Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune has called on the Government to introduce incentives to encourage fathers to take paternity leave.

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Ms Clune said women “always suffer” in their careers if they take time off work to care for their children.

“Paternity leave is the real solution to equality in the workplace. But there’s a huge culture shift to be made to achieve that and governments are going to have to drive it,” Ms Clune said

She proposed introducing a "use it or lose it” paternity leave scheme in Ireland  which would give fathers the options to take off time after child birth.

Ms Clune cited German initiatives as examples of how Ireland might encourage men to take paternity leave.

"Germany amended its parental-leave scheme in 2007 to include incentives for men to take paternity leave, and within two years the share of fathers who took paid leave jumped from 3% to over 20%. Whilst still not ideal, it is a start on the road towards equality,” she said.

Speaking at a European Parliament debate on maternity leave, Ms Clune cited Sweden as another example Ireland could follow.

“In 1995 the first so-called "daddy month" was introduced. Under this reform, families in which each parent took at least one month of leave received an additional month to add to their total allowance. The policy was expanded in 2002 so that if the mother and father each took at least two months' leave, the family would get two extra months,” she said.

Plans to increase maternity leave and give fathers an option to share in the leave are currently being discussed by Government.

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