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  • Writer's picturePrincipal Consultant

Proposals to reclaim maternity leave if mother faces illness.

Minister Roderic O’Gorman has proposed initiatives that offer relief to mothers facing illness during maternity leave. These proposals permit the deferral of maternity leave or a portion of it if a mother falls ill during pregnancy or while on leave, including cases of post-partum depression.

Moreover, Minister O’Gorman is expanding the entitlement to parent’s (paid) leave, effective August 1 this year. Parents will now have the option to take up to nine weeks of paid leave within the initial years of their child’s life. This extension is aimed at bolstering support for working parents and fostering a healthier work-life balance.

The Work Life Balance Act 2023 introduced amendments to the Maternity Protection Acts, notably extending breastfeeding breaks for employees. Now, breastfeeding breaks are permissible for up to two years following childbirth, with employers obligated to honor these requests. This amendment seeks to facilitate new mothers' transition back to work while continuing to breastfeed.

Additionally, the Act introduces five days of leave for medical care purposes for parents of children under 12, as well as for carers. It also establishes a right for parents and carers to request flexible working arrangements. Furthermore, remote working rights for all employees were implemented in March this year, following the formulation of a Code of Practice by the Workplace Relations Commission.

Ireland has also made strides in addressing domestic violence concerns by introducing statutory domestic violence leave. Victims of domestic violence are entitled to five days of leave annually, paid at 100% of their normal salary. This initiative aims to offer support to those seeking refuge in a safe environment.

These developments underscore Ireland’s dedication to supporting working families and ensuring equitable and compassionate leave entitlements and workplace flexibility.

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