A new law just passed in Northern Ireland means that parents of children born on or after April 5 this year may be able to share paternal leave and pay during their child’s first year.
The move, passed through the Work and Families Act (Northern Ireland) 2015, has been welcomed by Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry.
He said: “This important package of new rights will allow eligible working families to have more choice about how they balance their work and caring commitments.
“Parents can choose to be at home together or to work at different times and share the care of their child during the critical first year.
“The measures are a proactive response to changing expectations around work and family life.
“It is right that we do more to support the role of fathers and partners who want to contribute more to the care of their children.
“It is also important to challenge assumptions that only women will ever be absent from the workplace for caring reasons. Addressing these points will have long term benefits for all parents, irrespective of gender.”
The new rights will give families greater choice over how they arrange childcare during this very important time, by allowing working mothers the option to end their maternity pay and leave early, and to share untaken leave and pay with their partner. Adopters will also be able to bring their adoption leave and pay to an early end to opt into shared parental leave and pay with their partner.