NEW mothers working in the public sector will get their full salary while on maternity leave, despite the recent Budget cuts.
But the outlook for women in the private sector is more uncertain because they will be relying on their employer to ensure they are not worse off while on maternity leave.
Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin's department confirmed for the first time to the Irish Independent that female public servants would retain their full salary on maternity leave, despite the Budget cuts.
The Dail voted through the cuts to maternity benefit yesterday, bringing the higher rate received by 96pc of working mothers down from €262 per week to €230 from January 1.
Other women will rely on their employers to provide a top-up to the benefit – although this depends on the company and many hard-pressed firms will struggle to find the funds.
A spokesman for Mr Howlin said that the pay and conditions of public servants had been the subject of lengthy negotiations which resulted in the Haddington Road agreement.
The spokesman added: "The minister has no intention of changing the current arrangements with regard to maternity leave in the public service."
Business lobby group IBEC warned that some companies may have to review their maternity benefits as a result.
She said: "Women may be forced to return to the workforce faster than they would have planned in order to obtain a full salary to meet all their bills and financial requirements."