Maternity leave in Ireland to be extended due to Covid-19 pandemic

Maternity leave in Ireland to be extended due to Covid-19 pandemic

TAOISEACH MICHEAL MARTIN is expected to extend maternity leave in Ireland due to the coronavirus crisis.

He insisted that the government will "do the right thing" over calls to extend leave for mothers whose babies were born during the pandemic.

Maternity leave in Ireland currently stands at 42 weeks, with 26 of those under full pay.

Some have called for a 12 week extension to the leave, to help families during a time when childcare provision is lacking.

Though Martin insisted that he wouldn't be making any hasty decisions on a complicated issue just "to sound popular".

"It is our intention to do the right thing but to do it in a considered way. It is not as simple as the deputy has outlined and there are complexities in relation to it, from a legal and a policy standpoint," he said.

"The estimated costs are about €78 million and it would affect about 24,000 women.

"This matter is being examined by government and there is consultation between the Minister for Social Protection and Minister for Justice. I want to point out that the retrospective nature of what is being proposed may create legal and policy difficulties.

"For example, some of the women who have exhausted their maternity benefit are now back at work or on the pandemic unemployment payment.

"I spoke to ministers yesterday, they are engaged in consultations on this issue and I can say it is our intention to come back with a considered response on the issue."