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Cork East Fine Gael TD and Minister of State at the Department of Justice, David Stanton has welcomed the high numbers of Cork fathers availing of paid paternity leave. Since its introduction, a total of 6,584 fathers in the Cork area have availed of the Paternity Benefit scheme, which allows for two weeks of paid paternity leave.

Minister Stanton said: “The current rate of Paternity Benefit is €240 per week but this was increased by Budget 2019. This means that from the week beginning 25 March 2019 the payment will increase to €245 per week. I hope this increase will encourage even more fathers to avail of this two week long benefit so they can take time off work and be more involved in their child’s life.

“It is great to hear that there has been good take up of the scheme so far, with over 51,000 Paternity Benefit claims being awarded across the country since the scheme came in on the 1st September 2016. This includes some 4,100 self-employed people who are also eligible. Eligibility for Paternity Benefit is determined based on PRSI contributions.

“Fathers who fulfil the PRSI requirements are eligible for Paternity Benefit when they take two weeks of paternity leave at any time within the first 26 weeks of their child’s life, or following adoption. This is in recognition of the importance of providing support for parents of young children particularly in the child’s first year. Giving fathers more time with their child, benefits the child, the father and the whole family.

“I would encourage all prospective fathers to sign up for Paternity Benefit and avail of two weeks of paid paternity leave. The application process itself is very straightforward but all applicants will require a Public Services Card. Employees will also need to give their employer four weeks’ notice to qualify for the two weeks’ leave. All the information on how to apply for paternity leave, and how to get your Public Services Card, is available at

“Paid paternity leave was a key commitment in Fine Gael’s manifesto in advance of the last election as part of our overall efforts to support parents at work and make childcare more affordable. A new parental benefit scheme will also be introduced in late 2019 once the necessary legislation has been approved. This will allow all parents, in the first year of a child’s life, to access an additional two weeks of paid leave at the rate of €245 per week.