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