From the position of employers, this clear recognition of the additional financial burden such a move would involve is welcome. Ibec has repeatedly stressed that employers, many which continue to fight to stay in business, will face increased administrative and labour costs to ensure temporary cover is arranged where an employee is on leave, regardless of the duration. Contingencies would have to be planned to ensure there are no resulting losses in productivity, quality or output of their goods or services.
The Department of Justice has publicly stated that it is examining options including the sharing of maternity leave with fathers. If the position is building on earlier proposals, whereby mothers share two weeks of their 26 weeks maternity leave with the father, that is likely to be a complex and administratively costly situation for employers and the social welfare system.
Although businesses recognises and supports the importance of achieving a balance between work and family life, any proposal for a period of maternity leave to be shared with the father is likely to result in a disproportionate burden for employers trying to maintain their competitiveness, in particular, small and medium sized businesses.
The EU already extended the period of parental leave from 14 to 18 weeks, as recently as March 2013. This gave parents, including fathers, an entitlement to an extra four weeks parental leave.
There is therefore no requirement to legislate for any period of maternity leave to be shared with the father of child, where generous provisions already exist. We will continue to update you on this matter as the debate continues and the legislation is finalised.
Thursday, 26 February 2015