A proposal to extend Parent’s Leave from two weeks to five weeks for mothers and fathers will have a positive impact on families in Clare, a local TD has said.

Deputy Joe Carey welcomed the Government proposal to examine advancing the extension of the period of Parent’s Leave and Benefit by three weeks for each parent and to include every eligible parent of a child born since November 1, 2019.

The local Fine Gael TD said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for children and parents, with many families in Clare experiencing significant stress due to the lack of family support and childcare.

“I and my colleagues in Government are extremely sympathetic to the families who have had their lives disrupted, and that is why we are looking at options to enable them to spend more time with their children.

“This proposal will examine extending the period in which Parent’s Leave can be taken for those currently eligible to November 2021. At present, it must be taken within the first year of the child’s life.

“The full implications of these proposals will be examined by my Government colleagues in the coming weeks.

“There is no doubt that such a measure will have a positive impact on life for all families in Clare, including those with children born in the last 10 months.

“Evidence shows that children benefit from being cared for and spending time with both parents when they are very young. Parent’s Leave also gives an opportunity to fathers to take part in the care of their child at this young age.

“There have been a number of developments in recent years which are aimed at enabling working parents to manage their work-life balance, this includes the introduction of Parent’s Leave and Benefit and an extension of unpaid Parental Leave in 2019.

“This Government values the work of all parents and we will ensure that they are supported in their childcare choices, whether that be with childminders, in childcare settings, or in the home.

“We will continue to invest in the National Childcare Scheme, reducing costs for parents, and introducing greater parental choice and flexibility.”