Fathers will soon be able to avail of two weeks' paid paternity leave in what has been described by Government ministers as a "long overdue" move.
A new bill due to be published today outlines state support for dads of €230 per week, which they can take at any time in the first six months of their new-born's life. The Government plans to extend the leave beyond two weeks "as resources allow" but the initial payment will be available to new dads from September if the bill is passed into law before the summer recess, as expected.
"It is long overdue… but it's an important step forward," Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar said. The new benefit is available to all dads, including adoptive parents and men in a same-sex relationship.
Self-employed dads will also be entitled to take the paid leave and there will be mechanisms in place to try to prevent people from claiming the payment without taking the time off.
Special provision has also been made to accommodate families when their baby is stillborn or dies shortly after birth.
Meanwhile, the Minister confirmed that a €20 charge for people to register still-births is to be abolished.
The fee will also be dropped for cases of neo-natal births eventually, but this will be more complex from a legislation perspective.