Press Release, 07/04/2015: Proposal to extend parental leave welcome
Children must be at the heart of any parental leave policy reform, says Start Strong.
7th April 2015 - In response to media coverage of proposals to extend paid parental leave, Ciairín de Buis, Director of Start Strong - a coalition of organisations and individuals seeking to advance children’s early care and education in Ireland – said,
“Extending paid leave to 1 year after a child is born is very welcome. Children need to be at the heart of any policy proposals to extend paid parental leave. So far we’ve heard how this might impact on employers and businesses, and how it could reduce parent’s childcare costs. We haven’t heard much about how it benefits children.”
She continued, “For babies, especially under a year old, being at home to experience the loving care and attention of parents is important, and the benefits are of lasting importance. Children need to be our first priority when reforming policy in the area.
Ireland lagging behind Europe
Ireland compares very badly to other European countries when it comes to supporting families with young children.
We provide one of the shortest periods of paid leave after a child is born. Across Europe, the average length of paid leave is 15 months. In Ireland we have 6 months paid maternity leave and no paid parental leave. We are the only European country without any well-paid leave.”
Ms de Buis added,“This needs to be part of a wider plan that reforms our early years policies. Paid parental leave, the introduction of paid paternity leave, reform of ‘childcare’ subsidies and moving towards a second free pre-school year all need to be part of that reform. This means much greater government investment over a number of years. This isn’t going to be sorted in one budget".
Notes to editors
Start Strong is a coalition of organisations and coalitions and individuals campaigning to improve government policy in early years in Ireland. www.startstrong.ie
Start Strong has been actively campaigning along with the National Women’s Council of Ireland and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions for better family leave policies to support Irish children and families.
Ciairín de Buis can be contacted at 087 1207103.