The new Fianna Fáil bill which proposes that the father of a new born child can share the 26 weeks of maternity leave with the mother is progressive and deserves full support through the Oireachtas. The bill is being promoted by Senator Mary White and is part of a series of pro-enterprise proposals being brought forward by the party.
This innovative piece of legislation entitled the ‘Parental Leave Bill 2013’ proposes that the current maternity leave scheme be amended to enable a woman to transfer a proportion of her maternity leave and benefits to the father of the child, if she so wishes.
This allows parents to plan their parental leave according to their own circumstances. It also encourages women who are self employed or considering becoming entrepreneurs to pass some of their maternity leave rights to the fathers without jeopardising the welfare of the child.
The biggest untapped source of enterprise is people, and by eliminating barriers to becoming entrepreneurs, we can encourage more women in to business and which will benefit the economy and lead to more opportunities for job creation.
International studies show that women entrepreneurs are lagging significantly behind their male counterparts and Ireland reflects this international trend with women early stage entrepreneurs in Ireland outnumbered 2.5 times to 1 by men.
The responsibility for raising young children rests almost entirely with women. By supporting this new bill is to allow fathers to share the responsibility of maternity leave. This flexibility in the maternal leave scheme would allow women entrepreneurs to devote more time to their enterprises.