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New unpaid leave entitlements come into effect from today

Posted on 12 months ago by Laurentina Kennedy

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​New unpaid leave entitlements come into effect from today

Parents and those caring for family members will be able to take up to five days off work each year to attend medical appointments or if their dependent is ill. Photo: PA Images

​New entitlements to unpaid leave kick in from Monday.
Parents and those caring for family members will be able to take up to five days off work each year to attend medical appointments or if their dependent is ill.
Breastfeeding entitlements in the workplace are also being extended from Monday, from the previous six months to the first two years of a child's life.
The Bill was signed into law by the President back in April after passing through all stages in the Dáíl.
It also provides for domestic violence leave and these measures are expected to be in place later this year.
The right to request remote or flexible working is also contained within the legislation.Speaking in the Dáil back in April, Minister for Equality, Roderic O’Gorman said his goal was to have the other key elements – relating to paid leave for victims of domestic abuse, the right to request flexible working arrangements for the purpose of caring for family members and the right to request remote working – in place by the autumn.
There had been, he suggested, a desire on all sides that the implementation be somewhat staggered but the need to put processes in place with regard to some elements would largely dictate the timetable.“I think the breastfeeding breaks and the five days caring leave can come in early,” he said, adding that he hoped domestic violence leave would be "made available by the end of the summer," he said.
“It’s a very comprehensive Bill, covering a lot and, of course, we agree with the principle that it’s making it easier for workers to combine their work and family life,” said Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu) social policy analyst Laura Bambrick.“The bulk of the Bill really is to transpose an EU directive but they have gone beyond that.”
The fact that the provision for breastfeeding breaks effectively only previously applied to the period that almost most women would have taken in statutory maternity leave was, she suggests, puzzling, but she sees the extension as a progressive step
The move to make flexible working arrangements more widely available is also a positive, she said, noting that Ireland was lagging behind much of Europe in this regard with the directive having obliged the Government to do some catching up.
The effect will, where it can be reasonably accommodated, see workers permitted to seek school term time working or other tailored hours to allow them to care for family members.​