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Social Democrats TD for Wicklow, Jennifer Whitmore, says she is optimistic that extended Parent’s Leave will be introduced earlier than anticipated in the new year after she raised the issue with the Minister for Children this week.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson for Children, said:

“At a meeting of the Children’s Committee, I sought clarification from Minister O’Gorman on when parents can begin accessing the extended benefit, which was announced in Budget 2021.

“The new measure was originally to be introduced in April 2021. However, the Minister indicated to me that the Government is working towards bringing it in sooner by allowing parents to take leave earlier in the new year and then claim the benefit back after April.

“This will bring much needed certainty for parents and allow them to plan ahead for work and family life.

“I had previously raised the issue in the Dáil with the Tánaiste, stating that parents should not have to wait until April to access the newly announced leave, as many are unable to source childcare in the current Covid-19 crisis.

“I hope the Minister works to ensure that the benefit is made available as soon as possible so that the maximum number of parents can avail of it. While the extension provides for three additional weeks per parent, I have asked the Minister to consider the needs of lone parents and allow them to take the entire entitlement.

“This is a positive step towards what we in the Social Democrats have been calling for – paid parental leave for the first full year of a child’s life in line with other European countries.”

November 13, 2020

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