The extension of Parent’s Leave to five weeks recognises the fact that "parenting is a job for both Mams and Dads".
That's according to the Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman.
Yesterday, Cabinet approved the changes to more than double the length of parental leave from two weeks to five weeks.
The time when the leave can be taken will also be extended from just the first 12 months to the first two years of a child’s life.
The measures, which also apply to adopted children, are only available to parents whose children were born on or after November 1st, 2019.
Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show today, Minister O’Gorman said the legislation will be introduced in the New year and he hopes for it to be passed by the end of January.
He said: "At that stage, parents will be able to claim the additional Parent's Leave so that means that each parent will be able to claim five weeks' Parent's Leave.
"I think its a recognition of the importance of parents spending time with their children in those early years.
"But the fact that we're backdating it and allowing it to be taken over two years means that for any child born since November 1st, 2019, their parents will now be able to take the additional leave.
"I think that's to recognise the fact that particular over the COVID pandemic, it was a very difficult time for everyone but particularly for new parents and it's to ensure that parents who had children during the pandemic can also benefit from this additional paid leave."
The parental leave will be paid at a rate of €245 per week by the state.
It is estimated that the cost in 2021 of the additional payment will be €28.6m.
Minister O’Gorman added that he would like to see Parent's Leave "stretched out further" and up to nine weeks by the end of the Government's term in office.
He said: "I think why Parent's Leave is particularly important is that it is given to each parent and recognises the fact that parenting is a job for both Mams and Dads.
"I think as a society we all recognise that for too long we have expected the work of parenting mainly to fall on the shoulder of Mams.
"I think over the course of the pandemic, people have had a rethink about their work-life balance and where priorities lie.
"Even from talking to my own friends, a lot of them have become Dads in the last three years, I think they recognise the importance of spending time with their kids.
"I think there's a value there in the state supporting that and supporting that financially."
The Minister explained that as soon as the legislation is passed, parents will be able to take leave but it may take a few weeks longer for the benefit to be ready to be payable.
This delay is due to the Department of Social Protection being under increased pressure since the advent of COVID-19, but the benefit can be backdated and will be paid, he said.
Meanwhile, Minister O’Gorman added that it is "recognised that for all TDs and Senators there is no provision for maternity leave and I don't think this is acceptable".
The absence of maternity leave for public representatives is in the spotlight after Justice Minister Helen McEntee revealed over the weekend that she is pregnant.
The Children's Minister said he would like to see the issue resolved.