I recently indicated that Cork dads are already benefiting from the Government’s new paid paternity benefit scheme, and I am encouraging prospective fathers to apply.
“Paid Paternity Benefit became available at the beginning of September last year and is paid at a rate of €230 a week for two weeks, to both employees and the self-employed.
“This will afford new Dads the opportunity to be more involved at the earliest stages of a child’s development, which is important for the whole family.
“It is great to hear that there has been good take up of the scheme so far, with over 5,500 paternity benefits being awarded since the scheme came in on the 1st September 2016. My colleague the Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar, has informed me that here in Cork 708 Dads have availed of the benefit in that time, which is a good start.
“I am encouraging prospective fathers to sign up for Paternity Benefit and I think they will find the application process to be clear and simple. They will require a Public Service Card in order to apply, and if they are an employee, they need to give four weeks’ notice to their employer to qualify for the accompanying Paternity Leave. Fathers who fulfil the PRSI requirements are eligible for Paternity Benefit when they take two weeks of Paternity Leave at any time within the first 26 weeks of their child’s life, or following adoption.
“All the information on how to apply for Paternity Leave, and how to get your Public Service Card, is available at www.welfare.ie/
“Paid paternity leave was a key commitment in Fine Gael’s manifesto in advance of the last election as part of our overall efforts to support parents at work and make childcare more affordable. Fine Gael in Government is now using the resources from our strong economy to deliver on that commitment.
“In addition to the Paid Paternity Benefit, the Government is introducing a new ‘Single Affordable Childcare Scheme’, which provides both universal and targeted subsidies towards childcare costs. We have also expanded the free preschool scheme to give thousands more children access to a free preschool place.
“We want to ensure that every child has the best possible start in life.”