As parental leave is officially extended for employees in Ireland, CIPD says more than half of employers haven’t updated their policies.
New legislation around parental leave in Ireland took effect yesterday (1 September), extending the term of unpaid leave available for parents from 18 to 22 weeks for each eligible child, set to increase to 26 weeks next year, and raising the age of a child for which the leave applies from eight years old to 12.
In the lead-up to the change in regulations, research from CIPD Ireland found that, out of 54 businesses surveyed, 52pc of employers hadn’t updated their parental leave policies.
More than half (57pc) saw it as being disruptive for their company and 54pc have no plans to communicate with their staff about the changes, while 61pc of those surveyed said they don’t plan to bring in a salary top-up for paid parental leave.
CIPD Ireland’s director, Mary Connaughton, emphasised the importance of being proactive in dealing with the new rules around parental leave.
“Businesses will be doing themselves a favour if they update and clarify their policy before they’re actually presented with a case to deal with. We would urge them to act now and be clear – that way everyone will know where they stand,” she said.
CIPD has developed a guide that companies can use for clarity around the new situation, with more changes to the policy yet to come.
“The guide was something we felt had to be done as so many of our members were raising concerns about the level of confusion surrounding the impending changes,” Connaughton added.
“We got our experts to devise the guide with accuracy, clarity and transparency as top priorities and we hope it proves useful to everyone facing into the situation.”
Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, signed the order for the Parental Leave (Amendment Act) back in July of this year.
“Both mothers and fathers may apply for this leave, which I anticipate may be of particular benefit to parents that wish to take the unpaid leave when their children will be returning to school in September,” he said at the time.