#HaveYourSay: Almost 90pc of Independent.ie readers want parental leave extended from 18 to 26 weeks
Almost 90 per cent of Independent.ie readers want Ireland's unpaid paternal leave extended from 18 to 26 weeks, according to a poll conducted by this website.
A proposal to extend our parental leave by eight weeks has been referred to a review committee after receiving approval in the Dáil.
Equality minister David Stanton said the government would not oppose the Bill but added he would prefer to see a situation where Ireland would eventually have paid parental leave.
We asked Independent.ie readers whether they are in favour of the proposal to increase parental leave here.
1542 people responded and a majority 1363 (88.39pc) said they would like to see it extended.
Just 179 people (11.61pc) voted that they are aren't in favour of the proposal.
The proposal by the Social Democrats allows parents take a total of six months unpaid leave from work +without their employment rights being affected.
This is an increase on the 18 weeks unpaid leave currently on offer per child aged up to eight-years-old, the minimum allowed under EU law.
Fianna Fáil, Labour and Sinn Féin also expressed support for the Bill.
Minister Staunton said further engagement would be of benefit to help the Bill progress beyond the committee.
“The Bill could be enhanced by a consultative process with the main stakeholders. I think that is very important to give everybody an opportunity to engage with the legislation,” he said.
The Bill is focused on unpaid leave because Dáil rules prevent opposition parties from proposing Bills where there will be a cost to the State.
Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shorthall said she welcomed support for the proposal.
“Since we launched this Bill last April we have had a very positive response,” she said.
"While it has been in the news we have had several messages and queries from parents asking when is this going to happen. They very much welcome it and creating that access to flexible work options is invaluable for many parents.”