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Minister Brings Draft Bill to Improve Work-Life Balance to Cabinet

Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman is bringing a draft of a new Work-Life Balance Bill before Cabinet today, which is aimed at providing more family friendly workplaces.  It is expected to be signed off and in place ahead of the summer recess. 
The proposed Bill outlines that five days of unpaid leave will be available for all family members to support those with medical needs. Carers or parents will also have the right to request flexible or compressed work hours. Under the Bill, there will be an entitlement for paid breastfeeding breaks as well as paid leave for victims of domestic violence. This detail, however, is still being worked on and will be introduced in the Dáil later as an amendment.

The introduction of flexible working arrangements is the result of the Government implementing the EU’s Work-Life Balance Directive.


Work-Life Balance Directive

The Work-Life Balance Directive is an EU law which aims to make it easier for people working in the EU to balance paid work and private life, including caring responsibilities. The Directive was formally adopted by the European Parliament and by the Council of the European Union in June 2019 and member states have 3 years to transpose the Directive in their national law.

The Work-Life Balance Directive introduces minimum standards for parental leave including paternity leave, carer’s leave, the right to flexible working arrangements for parents and carers, and safeguards against unfair dismissals. 

The Directive is designed to modernise existing work-life balance frameworks for parents and carers while also supporting a more equal sharing of parental leave.

While employees will have the right to request flexible work arrangements, employers will not be under an obligation to grant any such request.

What is meant by Flexible Working?

Flexible working is a term used to cover a broad range of working arrangements including part-time working, flexitime, staggered hours and hybrid working among others.

Overview - Ireland’s current Paternity, Parental, Carer’s and Parent’s Leave
Leave Who can avail of it Length & Paid/ Unpaid
Paternity Leave Parents of a child under 6 months but not the mother of the child 2 weeks – yes, Paternity Benefit paid
Parental Leave Parents and guardians of children under 12 years 26 weeks - unpaid
Carer’s Leave
A person who is caring for someone who needs full-time care to:
  • Keep them safe and help them throughout the day with their normal personal needs, such as eating, drinking, washing and dressing, or
  • Protect them from being a danger to themselves
Min 13 weeks – Max 104 weeks - unpaid
Parent’s Leave Currently parents of children under 2 years 5 weeks currently – yes, Parent’s Benefit paid

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