TDs have voted through cuts to maternity benefit will that cost new mothers up to €800.
The higher level state maternity benefit is being cut from €262 per week to €230 per week.
Although the lower rate of maternity benefit is bring raised from €217 to €230, the State will still save €30m per year overall.
The measure is contained in the Social and Welfare Pensions Bill 2013, which is implementing the social welfare cuts in the Budget.
Those who spoke in opposition to the cut included former Fine Gael Junior Minister Lucinda Creighton, who said it could act as a disincentive for working women to have children.
The reduction in state maternity benefit means that many private companies will now have to pay more to bring employees' salary up to their existing levels. However this could vary depending on contract terms – and there is no guarantee that companies will do so. The cuts in maternity benefit will apply to new mothers from January 1.