Parents in Ireland will soon be entitled to five days of annual leave a year in order to care for sick children.
The leave will be unpaid and employers will also be allowed to ask for a doctor’s note to confirm eligibility.
The move comes as part of legislation that Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman is bringing before the Oireachtas that will enhance employment rights for a number of workers.
Anyone caring for children under 12 or an adult relative will be able to request flexible or reduced working hours. The emphasis will then be on the employer to provide a valid reason if they then decline the request.
It is also expected that victims of domestic violence will be given a right to request leave as well.
Currently, mothers who are breastfeeding can take up to an hour a day off to nurse a baby under the age of one. Minister O’Gorman is expected to extend this right to mothers with children under the age of two.
Last month the Government agreed that workers in Ireland should be entitled to paid sick leave as well - a decision that brings Ireland into line with other advanced western countries.
Once the legislation Sick Leave Bill 2022 is passed employees will be allowed to take three sick days a year, rising to five in 2024 and then 10 by 2026.
“No one should feel pressured to come to work when they are ill because they can’t afford not to,” Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said after the cabinet approved the legislation.
“Ireland is one of the few advanced countries in Europe not to have a mandatory sick pay scheme and although many, we think approximately half, of employers do provide sick pay, we need to make sure that security, that safety net, is there for all workers, regardless of their job.
"It has to be one of the legacies of the pandemic. It will be available to all workers, regardless of their illness."
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