Government planning to introduce two weeks paid parental leave

Minister Regina Doherty is also looking to increase the number of fathers availing of paternity leave

Government planning to introduce two weeks paid parental leave

Regina Doherty. Picture by: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

Parents could be in line for a further payment of two weeks paid parental leave under Government plans.

Parents are entitled to 18 weeks of parental leave, unpaid at present, during their child’s first eight years.

Ministers are hoping to introduce an allowance for paid parental leave - which could be take right up until a child goes to secondary school - with the paid allowance to be increased incrementally over a number of budgets.

The Government is also reportedly considering making paternity leave mandatory.

Currently, new fathers are entitled to two weeks of paid leave - at a rate of €240 a week - after their child is born.

Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty says she’s trying to bring up the numbers of fathers taking the leave they’re owed - but insisted "there's no intention to force anybody to do anything".

She told The Pat Kenny Show: "I need to get the 60% uptake up to the kind of numbers that women are taking maternity leave at, which is 91%."

She dismissed any suggestion some fathers are just using the leave as holidays to play golf, saying: "I have absolutely no evidence that anybody in Ireland is taking paternity leave to do anything other than look after their children."