3,473 fathers in Cork have taken pa­ter­nity leave since it came into op­er­a­tion in Septem­ber 2016

The Corkman - - NEWS - MARIA HER­LIHY

PA­TER­NITY leave take up among Ir­ish fathers is steadily in­cras­ing, with 35% of fathers na­tion­ally tak­ing pa­ter­nity leave for the first three months of 2017.

That is ac­cord­ing to Ire­land South MEP and mem­ber of the EU Em­ploy­ment com­mit­tee, Deirdre Clune, who wel­comed the lat­est set of fig­ures by the Depart­ment of So­cial Pro­tec­tion.

The fig­ures show that 34% of Ir­ish fathers na­tion­ally took pa­ter­nity leave in the first three months of 2017 and 27,307 Ir­ish fathers have taken pa­ter­nity leave since the scheme came into op­er­a­tion in Septem­ber 2016.

Com­ment­ing on the fig­ures, Ms Clune said re­search from our EU neigh­bours shows that take up of pa­ter­nity leave can be ex­tremely low. She re­it­er­ated how im­por­tant it is to im­prove pa­ter­nity leave for Ir­ish fathers,

“34% is not a bad start. Take up is as low as 4% in France where a cam­paign to make pa­ter­nity leave com­pul­sory has kicked off. In Ger­many men and women have equal rights to parental leave of 12 to 14 months on 65% of the in­di­vid­ual par­ent’s salary,” she said.

“Ire­land has one of the high­est birth rates in Europe. Al­most 64,000 ba­bies were born here in 2016. The na­tional birth rate in the first quar­ter of 2017 was 16,487 and the num­ber of fathers who claimed pa­ter­nity leave for the same pe­riod was 5,711,” she said

It was her view that the coun­try needs to take a wider so­ci­etal view and not think of rear­ing chil­dren as some­thing best done in one’s spare time, and prefer­ably by women. “Shared re­spon­si­bil­ity for new­born ba­bies is the key to equal­ity in the labour market. But the re­spon­si­bil­ity will al­ways fall on women un­less men play an ac­tive role in child rear­ing and ac­tu­ally take the pa­ter­nity leave,” she said.

“De­pend­ing on the on­go­ing take up, we should look at more in­cen­tives to en­cour­age fathers to take pa­ter­nity leave. I would be ex­tremely re­luc­tant to go down the road of mak­ing pa­ter­nity leave manda­tory, and pro­pose that we use other in­cen­tives like “use it or lose it” to fur­ther in­crease the take up of pa­ter­nity leave,” she said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.