The scheme is payable at a minimum rate of €235 per week for two weeks
Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty is urging new fathers to take advantage of paternity benefits open to them.
A new awareness campaign has been launched to encourage new or expectant fathers to apply for the two weeks payment.
Employed and self-employed fathers with the correct PRSI contributions are entitled to receive them.
Payment is available from the Department of Social Protection to parents of children born or placed in adoption.
It is payable at a minimum rate of €235 per week for two weeks.
It is available for up to 26 weeks after the child's birth or adoption placement, and it is also available to same-sex couples.
Figures revealed on Tuesday show that less than one-in-five new fathers are availing of the social welfare payments.
Minister Doherty said: "The purpose of paternity benefit is to support new fathers to take time off work within the first 26 weeks following the birth of their child.
"New parents can choose to apply online for paternity benefit if they have a Public Services Card.
"Applications made online benefit from an automated decision process, where all conditions are fulfilled the person concerned will receive an award notification within seconds."
"I would strongly urge all eligible parents to consider applying for paternity benefit when they take paternity leave", she added.
To qualify for paternity benefit, a person must satisfy social insurance contribution conditions.
Employees will need to give four weeks' notice to their employer to qualify.