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Delays in Maternity Leave Payment

May 10, 2017

Delays in maternity leave payment putting parents under even greater strain

The delay in paying out maternity leave benefit is placing additional stress on parents at a time when families are already dealing with the challenges of a new baby, Early Childhood Ireland has said today.

Around 1,300 women who are already on maternity leave have not received any payments.

The Department of Social Protection has said that the implementation of a new system, and the training of new staff, has resulted in the delays

Early Childhood Ireland, CEO, Teresa Heeney said;

This is an extremely disappointing development. At a time when a child is born parents have a lot to cope with as well as a lot of expenses to meet. So not having maternity benefit available to them adds to the stress of an already challenging situation.

For some people, it’s their only source of income while on maternity leave, so any delay in receiving it places a severe financial burden on new parents at a time when they want to be focusing on their new baby.

Early Childhood Ireland is calling on the Department of Social Protection to deal with this issue as soon as possible, new parents simply cannot afford to wait.”

Early Childhood Ireland is also advocating that parental leave is increased to twelve months and a system of “well- paid” maternity leave is introduced. Ireland ranked 23 out of 24 European among countries that offer statutory maternity leave

Teresa Heeney said

“Best practice indicates that its optimum for babies if they do stay at home with a parent for at least the first twelve months.

However, the reality is that most parents simply cannot afford to stay at home for a full year due to financial constraints. Currently, Ireland is one of only two EU countries that does not provide any well-paid maternity or paternity leave. That means many parents’ only source of income is €235 per week state benefit which they receive for just 26 weeks.

A system which encourages and enables parents to spend as much time as possible with their children during their first twelve months will be best for babies’ development, best for parents and ultimately best for society.”

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