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Dads need to take advantage of new paternity scheme – Richmond

21st June 2016 - Neale Richmond, TD

Fine Gael Senator for Dublin Rathdown, Neale Richmond, has welcomed the announcement that the Government is to provide fathers with two weeks of paid paternity leave. However, he has warned that for the scheme to work, new Dads need to take advantage of the new scheme.

“The Paternity Bill will be formally introduced to the Dáil this coming Friday and I look forward to it coming to the Seanad.

“This is very welcome news for fathers and soon-to-be fathers. It will afford them the opportunity to be more involved at the earliest stages of a child’s development. In fact it will be beneficial for the whole family, as studies show that targeting investment in a child’s early years leads to better outcomes for both the child and wider society.

“In order for the true benefits of this new scheme to be realised however, it is vital that new fathers actually take advantage of it. Unfortunately evidence from other EU countries where the scheme is already in place has shown that an alarmingly high number of new fathers are simply not taking up the scheme or not taking it up in its entirety.

“When enacted, this legislation will allow new fathers to start the combined package of paternity leave and paternity benefit, at any time within the first six months following birth.  It will also apply to the fathers of newly adopted children, this degree of flexibility will be crucial to the scheme succeeding.

“The Department of Social Protection will provide fathers in with paid paternity benefit of €230 per week for the two weeks of Paternity Leave. Employers in will also have the option of providing a further top-up to the Dad’s regular salary if they so choose.

“Many of my friends and contemporaries are starting their families and this new initiative will allow them to enjoy the early months of their child’s life so much better, taking some of the strain away, although the Government can do nothing about late night feeds.

“This Bill meets the commitment made in Budget 2016 and in the Programme for Government and is another example of how Fine Gael is giving working families a break.”

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