It’s going to be a very Nappy Christmas!!
This Christmas will be very different for me having just become a father at the age of 42 something that was never looking too likely. Now that it’s happened of course it’s been the best thing ever. I was never too interested in kids or babies but they say it’s different when they are your own and that has very much been the case. Aoife is the best little girl in the whole wide world and I’m sure every father thinks the same about his own!
So this year it’s going to be less about stocking up on the Tommy Hilfiger and more about stocking up on the Tommy Tippee’s (that’s the baby bottle brand I have been blissfully unaware of). Late night bottles will no longer consist of a full bodied Chilean merlot rather a less appetising looking breast milk substitute. And it seems conversations with my mates now revolve around sleepless nights and dirty nappies. The less said about the nappy business the better. It’s a necessary evil of the baby game so you just get on with it.
The lot for us new dads has improved recently with the introduction of two weeks statutory paternity leave in September 2016. The leave can be taken at any time in the first six months as one two week period. Paternity benefit from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is paid for the two weeks paternity leave if sufficient PRSI contributions have been made. Currently the rate is €240 per week and is taxable but not subject to USC or PRSI. The employer is not obliged to pay the employee on paternity leave though may elect to do so or top up the paternity benefit.
As the child gets older there is also the option to take up to 18 weeks unpaid parental leave from work up to the child’s 8th birthday. In addition, Paschal Donohoe announced in his 2019 budget speech that a new parental benefit scheme will commence in November 2019. This will be introduced as two week’s paid parental leave per parent for every child up to the age of one year. He mentioned this will increase to 7 weeks per child in time but given that there will be another budget delivered before this measure takes effect, it sounds like a bit of electioneering on his part and we await the legislation to see the actual outcome of the budget proposals.
If like me you have left it late to become a parent then now mightn’t be the worst time to consider it.