Cllr Erin McGreehan
Fianna Fáil Senator Erin McGreehan has welcomed the introduction of the Family Leave Bill into the Seanad on Friday 12 March 2021.
The Bill will be brought into law by an early signature motion beginning in April.
The passing of the bill means parents who have had children from 1st November 2019 will be able to take up to five weeks paid leave at €245 per week.
There was already a payment for two weeks meaning if you have taken the two weeks you are entitled to take three extra weeks from April onwards.
“This Bill is a positive move towards creating a fairer more gender balanced society.
"Those who wish to and are lucky enough to have a child by whatever way that child comes to a family, whether that be through childbirth or through adoption.
“One needs to know that the state recognises both parents deserve the opportunity to take time off to spend time with their new baby - supporting each other and getting to know the little person they are now responsible for.
“The goal for us all is to create a society where child rearing is seen as a gender-neutral activity.
"It is really a huge part of increasing women’s participation in the labour market and reduce gender pay gaps.
"Bills like this and the non-transferability of the entitlement moves to create equity.”
During the debate on the Bill, Senator McGreehan also called for Article 41.2 to be amended.
“Article 41.2 must be amended to be gender-neutral and to acknowledge the role of care in Irish society and there is a reason we are catching up on providing that adequate care for our most vulnerable.
“Why would the State choose to provide childcare or elder care when women were banned from the workplace?
"Their place was in the home, to look after their children and when that was done, to look after their aging parents.
“A women's place is where she chooses to be.
"A man's place is where he chooses to be.
"It is the job of the State to recognise this.
"The Constitution is an important document and it should be respected and protected but it must protect all of us."
The Louth Senator continued: “Care work is also essential for advancing human capabilities, yet it tends to be unpaid.
"It is undervalued and often taken for granted.
"We must be radical, ambitious and willing to change.
“We must establish a working group to fully examine the value of care in our economy.
"It must highlight the critical contribution care workers make and help to ensure policies which recognise it.
“The division of paid and unpaid work is strongly gendered.
"We all know the supports for caring are at a low level and I can attest to the fact that combining paid work and caring is difficult.”