Includes frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the key provisions of the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016, including entitlements, who can apply, when the leave can be taken and penalisation for taking the leave. Also includes tips for employers on what to do in preparation for its commencement.

Introduction

The Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016 was recently enacted and will commence on 1 September 2016. It will provide long awaited statutory paternity leave and benefit for fathers. It will also bring Ireland in line with other EU countries. Up until now we have been one of the few member states without some form of leave for fathers. The leave is the first in what will be a suite of family friendly initiatives designed to encourage and promote a more equitable division of parental responsibilities in the workplace.

Announcing the introduction of paternity leave, the government also referred to the possibility of a further two weeks' shared parental leave to be introduced in the next Budget. Whether this materialises remains to be seen. Nonetheless, the introduction of paternity leave and benefit is a very welcome development. Whilst the government has taken the crucial first step, employers now need to ensure that they encourage and facilitate the take up of the leave in the workplace.

The Act mirrors to a large degree the format of the maternity, adoptive and parental leave legislation. Below are FAQs on the key provisions of the Act and tips for employers on what to do in preparation for its commencement.

What are the entitlements?

Who can apply?

When can the leave be taken?

What happens if the leave isn’t used for looking after a child?

What happens if someone is penalised for taking the leave?

What happens if the baby dies or is stillborn?

What if someone wants to make a complaint?

Tips for employers

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Guides

Paternity leave

Paternity leave and benefit came into effect on 1 September 2016. Our guidance advises on what your organisation needs to do other than understand the law, make decisions around how your company will implement it and draw up a policy.

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