Paternity bill is signed into law
New fathers are being encouraged to avail of two weeks paid paternity leave from September.
Under the measures, signed into law yesterday, fathers will be entitled to a guaranteed income of €230 for each of two weeks that they take as leave.
Those who wish to avail of the paternity leave must give their employers four weeks' notice and hold in their possession a public service card.
Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar said that in some countries, paternity benefit is drawn down in fewer than 50pc of cases.
"We'd be disappointed if that were the case," he told reporters at Holles Street Maternity Hospital.
Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar brushed over suggestions that he openly angling for the leadership of Fine Gael.
Mr Varadkar was asked why he chose to open a constituency office for Cork South West backbencher Jim Daly and whether this was connected to his ambitions to succeed Enda Kenny.
"There is no vacancy therefore I am not involved in any campaign," he said, adding: "I look forward to opening many other constituency offices."
On the issue of the budget, Mr Varadkar said there is "limited" scope available for increases in welfare.
Details of the scheme can be found at www.welfare.ie/paternitybenefit or by calling 1890-662244.