THE Dail has voted through the Budget cuts to maternity benefit, bringing the higher rate received by 96pc of working mothers down from €262 per week to €230 per week from January 1.
It will mean a total financial hit of €832 over the 26 weeks for new mothers, unless they get a top-up from their employer.
Some women will rely on their employers to provide a top-up to the benefit – although this depends on the company in question, and many hard-pressed firms will struggle to find the funds.
Business lobby group IBEC has warned that some companies may have to review their maternity benefits as a result.
Top-up payments to bring salaries up to normal levels during maternity leave are standard practice in most large companies, although most women working in small businesses do not receive them.
Meanwhile, the Dail voted through the other social welfare cuts in the Budget, which include the scrapping of the bereavement grant and the phone allowance for elderly people.
The final vote on the Social and Welfare Pensions Bill 2013, which is implementing the social welfare cuts in the Budget, was passed by74 votes to 46.