Failure to top up parent’s benefit an affront to working families 

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) welcomes the publication of Circular 0030/2021, which clarifies the terms of the parent’s leave scheme for teachers. However, the INTO is extremely disappointed that members who have made sufficient PRSI contributions, and who are eligible for parent’s benefit, will not have their salaries topped up by the Department of Education while availing of parent’s leave.

The other key provisions of the circular include:

  • An additional five weeks of leave is available to both parents of children born or adopted on or after 1 November 2019.
  • The leave must be taken within the first two years after birth, or within the first two years of the placement of the child in the case of adoption.
  • Parent’s leave is not transferable between parents, and the entitlement to five weeks to each parent remains the same in the case of multiple births. (For example, the mother of twins will have five weeks of parent’s leave available.)
  • The leave may be taken as five consecutive weeks, or in separate periods of not less than one week.

INTO General Secretary John Boyle challenged the position taken by the Department of Education and stated:

Only six months ago a Department of Public Expenditure spending review noted that other EU member states aim to replace income to a greater extent than Ireland. It remains the view of this union that if this Government was really serious about supporting working families, this statutory leave entitlement would be fully paid in the public sector, in line with other statutory paid leave schemes, such as maternity leave, paternity leave, and sick leave.