Under new legislation being brought to Cabinet, parents will be allowed up to five days off work to care for their sick children.
Since the pandemic more people are seeking a better work-life balance, as many have realised how little leisure time they were having before – with commuting, working over-time, tending to a house and looking after children all adding to daily pressures.
Some countries have been trialling a four-day working week while others are extending paternity benefits in order to create a better work-life balance.
According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Ireland is already in the top 10 countries for a good work-life balance.
We are below the world average (10pc) when it comes to people who work more than 50 hours a week. Here, just 5pc of our employees work such long hours.
When it comes to maternity leave, Irish employees are entitled to 42 weeks’ maternity leave – 26 of which are paid and 16 of which are unpaid.
Here’s how Ireland compares to other countries’ work-life balance:
According to the OECD, the Netherlands is the country offering the best work-life balance.
This is because only 0.3pc of employees work very long hours (50 or more).
The standard Dutch work contract is 38 hours per week, but unions have been calling for a standard 30-hour workweek with some companies, such as Dell, offering a four-day workweek.
Maternity leave in the Netherlands is shorter than in Ireland, with mothers getting 16 weeks of paid leave after having a baby.
However, they are offered their full-rate salary for these 16 weeks.
The French are known for their extensive workers’ rights and having a good work-life balance. Employers in France are very respectful of not contacting employees when they are off.
French workers also enjoy a minimum of five weeks’ minimum paid holiday leave and the standard work contract is 35 hours a week.
France offers mothers 16 weeks’ paid maternity leave. This period, which covers 100pc of workers’ salaries, is paid by France’s social security services.
Employees in New Zealand work longer hours than the average, with 14pc of workers in the country working 50 hours a week or more.
Maternity leave in New Zealand is one of the best in the world as new mothers are entitled to 26 weeks’ paid leave up to a maximum of NZ$621.76 (€388.80) earned week.
In Australia, about 13pc of employees work 50 hours or more a week, which is above the world average of 10pc.
They also devote 14.4 hours of their day to personal care – which includes eating, sleeping and leisure – which is below the OECD world average of 15 hours.
Employees in Australia get 18 weeks of paid maternity leave, which is paid by the government at the national minimum wage.
Spain has been ranked as the fourth best country by the OECD for work-life balance, with 2.5pc of workers working very long hours.
However, many employees break for siesta during the day meaning they could start work early and finish late, despite only working eight hours.
Workers in the country devote 15.7 hours a day to personal care, which is above the world average.
Mothers in Spain are given 16 weeks of paid maternity leave and are entitled to 100pc of their salary.
Czech Republic is also ranked as one of the best countries for work-life balance as only 5pc of employees work very long hours.
The minimum requirement for annual leave in the country is four weeks, but employees working in the public sector are entitled to five weeks.
Women in Czech Republic are entitled to 28 weeks of paid maternity leave and receive about 70pc of their salary for this period.
Sweden is ranked as one of the best countries in the world for work-life balance due to its family policies, with parents entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave when a child is born or adopted.
Each parent is entitled to 240 of those days and a single parent is allowed all 480.
For 390 of these days, compensation is based on salary while the next 90 is the country’s minimum wage.
Full-time employees in Germany are entitled to a minimum of 20 days of annual leave a year, and on top of that, they have nine public holidays.
According to the OECD, workers in Germany have a better work-life balance than the world average, with only 3.9pc of employees working more than 50 hours a week.
Anyone who becomes pregnant in Germany is entitled to 14 weeks’ paid maternity leave at €13 a day.
They can also extend their maternity leave up to 12 weeks if they have a premature birth, multiple births, a caesarean section or a child with a disability.
Employees in the UK work slightly longer hours than the OECD average, with 11pc of workers clocking in for 50 hours or more per week.
At the end of last year, Scotland started a six-month trial of a four-day workweek, in which a number of Scottish businesses took part.
Mothers in the UK are entitled to 39 weeks of maternity leave and get 90pc of their salary or £156.66 (€188,35) a week, whichever is higher.