By Staff Reporter
Moves to introduce two weeks of paid paternity leave have been welcomed by the National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI).
However, the organisation cautions that this must be part of a wider approach to organising leave and tackling the childcare crisis in Ireland.
Paternity leave, which would bring Ireland in line with best practice across Europe, is “a welcome step” according to NWCI director Orla O’Connor, who added that “legislating for paternity leave is a long overdue recognition of the role of fathers, as well as the fact that care responsibilities need to be shared more equally between women and men.
“However, it is disappointing that no period of paid leave was introduced to allow families in Ireland to make choices with regard to balancing work and family life in way that suits their needs,” she said. “As it stands, Ireland is the only EU member state that provides no period of well-paid leave ”
Orla O’Connor maintained that the Government “has failed to tackle the enormous issue of affordability of childcare which continues to be one of the biggest barriers to women’s participation in the workforce and civic life in Ireland.
“Childcare costs in Ireland as a percentage of wages are the highest in the EU, and it is a massive election issue,” she added.