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Press Statement, 26/01/2016: Paid paternity leave welcome – but only the start of what’s needed for our young children

Start Strong – a coalition of organisations and individuals seeking to advance children’s early care and education in Ireland – has welcomed today’s memo to Cabinet paving the way for the introduction of two weeks’ paid paternity leave.

Director of Start Strong, Ms Ciairín de Buis, has described the move as a crucial step on the way to family leave policies that are in the best interests of all young children, and that would bring Ireland into line with best international practice.

Paternity LeaveMs de Buis said:

“The Government’s measures to legislate for two weeks’ paid paternity leave, is the State’s first recognition of the role of fathers in the care of young children. At last our Government is catching up with families.

“It is a measure for which Start Strong has long campaigned, working alongside the National Women’s Council and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.  Our Family Leave campaign highlights the international research – that children do best when cared for at home for at least the critical first year of life.

“While welcoming the announcement of paid paternity leave in Budget 2016, we were disappointed that no steps were taken to introduce paid parental leave.

“We argued in our Pre-Budget Submission – and continue to argue – that the Government should take the first steps towards introducing 26 weeks’ paid parental leave, to be taken by either parent after the completion of maternity benefit, so that a child can spend at least the first 12 months at home with a parent, in line with recommendations of the recent Inter-Departmental Group report, and the report of the Expert Advisory Group on the Early Years Strategy.

“As the General Election looms, we are pleased to see many political parties promise the extension of family leave. But we need them to follow through on these promises if they form part of the next government. Ambitious plans like these, as well as significant investment in early years childcare, come with a financial cost. We hope that the next government has the foresight to see that such an investment, however, has significant long-term benefits as our nation’s children grow and develop.

“As part of our Early Years #GE16 Campaign, we call on all election candidates to sign our Promise to Children, which includes a commitment to make early years a priority if elected by increasing investment to ensure affordable, accessible, quality early years services and by continuing to strengthen family leave."

ENDS

#EarlyYears #GE16 | Follow us on Twitter @StartStrongIrl | Like us on Facebook facebook.com/StartStrongIreland.

About Start Strong

  • Start Strong is a coalition of organisations and individuals seeking to advance children’s early care and education in Ireland.
  • Early Years care and education means the care and education of children in their early years, from their first months to the compulsory school starting age of 6 years old.
  • For more information on our Early Years #GE16 Campaign, follow #EarlyYears #GE16 on social media and visit our website: startstrong.ie.
  • See familyleave.net.
  • Read the Early Years Promise to Children.