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Blog  »  October 2021  »  Don't Forget About Fathers: Paternity Leave & Benefit Act 2016 - Blog
Oct 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Don't Forget About Fathers: Paternity Leave & Benefit Act 2016

The Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016 came into effect on the 1st of August 2016 and provides for 2 consecutive weeks paternity leave with protection of employment for a relevant parent in respect of a child born or adopted on or after the 1st of September 2016. The Act also provides that paternity leave may be transferred to the surviving parent on the death of a relevant parent.

The Act covers employees who are relevant parents or a surviving parent from the first day of employment, including those who are working as apprentices, as agency temps, civil servants etc.

Statutory paternity leave consists of 2 consecutive weeks leave to enable a father to provide care, or assist in the provision of care, for the child or provide support to the mother or adopting parent, or both.

Paternity leave can be taken at any time commencing on the date of the birth of the child or placement in the case of adoption, and ending no later than 26 weeks after the date of birth or placement.

Did you Know?

Shockingly, almost half of fathers entitled to paternity benefit do not avail of it and the level of uptake varies dramatically depending on the sector and size of company a person works in. While paid and unpaid leave for new fathers has increased and expanded in recent years, the uptake remains low with less than half (45%) of fathers entitled to paternity benefit did not take it in 2018.

The central statistics office released an employment analysis of maternity and paternity benefits. They haven't updated it past 2019 at present but we still thought the figures presented for 2016 - 2019 were interesting and worth looking at.

In 2019 paternity leave was paid to 3.1 men per 100 employees, which was a slight increase on the 2018 rate of 2.9. However this is still well below the rate of maternity benefit which was paid to 5.3 per 100 employees in 2019.

The sectors with the highest paternity and maternity benefit rate is the Public Administration & Defence. With Accommodation & Food Service having the lowest maternity and paternity benefit rate.

So how long must employers keep records of paternity leave?

The employer is required to keep a record of paternity leave taken by their employees, specifying the period of employment of each employee and the dates and times of paternity leave taken. These records must be maintained for a period of 8 years after the paternity leave has been taken. Failure to keep such records can mean the employer is liable to a Class B fine not exceeding €4,000.

Bright Contracts' handbook includes each family related leave policy including paternity leave under the 'Leave & Benefits' section of the handbook. If you'd like to download a trial of our software to preview these sections click here.

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The Employer & Maternity Leave

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Posted in Company Handbook, Contract of employment, Family Leave