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Government announces substantial supports for the Reopening of Childcare

Half of mothers work during maternity leave

April 25, 2017

New research showing that over half of Irish mothers continue to engage in some work-related activities during maternity leave highlights the need to improve the culture and practice on leave arrangements for new parents, Early Childhood Ireland has said.

The research conducted by SMA Nutrition, saw 52% of mothers admitting to being involved in work-related activities in some capacity. 31% took calls for colleagues during their leave, while 15% said they did background reading to keep up to date. Almost a quarter of mothers said they checked their emails during their time off.

Commenting on the research, Early Childhood Ireland CEO, Teresa Heeney said:

“Evidence shows that staying at home with children for the first year is best for their development and helps to nurture that crucial bond between child and parent.

However, the reality is that most parents simply cannot afford to stay at home for a full twelve months due to financial constraints. Furthermore, employers are not always in a position to facilitate staff who would like to take additional time away from work.

If we want to ensure that children get the best start possible, we need to foster a culture whereby parents don’t lose out financially and are also supported to take longer periods of paternity leave. As a first step, Early Childhood Ireland is advocating that parental leave is increased to twelve months and a system of “well- paid” maternity leave is introduced.

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.”

The European Union defines “well-paid” parental leave as a payment to at least 66% of previous earnings. According to the OECD, the average European family pays 17 per cent of household income on childcare. An Irish family pays an average of 34 percent.

Early Childhood Ireland represents over 3,600 childcare members who support over 100,000 children and their families through preschool, afterschool and full day-care provision nationwide. Its work includes quality enhancement, publications, advocacy, training, business support and information for a sector that employs 25,000 people today.


For further information


Daniel English, Early Childhood Ireland

Tel: 086-144 8768 

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