Reforming Paternity and Maternity Rights for Equality

Reforming Paternity and Maternity Rights for Equality
Resolution for YFG National Conference 2013, Tower Hotel Waterford
Saturday 23 November
Presented by: Tipperary South YFG

Recognizing:
• That the family structure has changed in recent years, that there is an increase in alternative family structures such as single parents, divorced parents and same sex parents.
• That increased numbers of women in the work force have led to a greater need for maternity leave, with paternity leave often being over looked as an option.
• The Maternity Protection Act 1994 and the Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act 2004 state that the mother is entitled to 26 weeks' maternity leave together with 16 weeks additional unpaid maternity leave.
• That under the Adoptive Leave Act 1995, as amended by the Adoptive Leave Act 2005, only the adoptive mother is entitled to avail of adoptive leave from employment, except in the case where a male is the sole adopter.
• That in Ireland employers are not obliged to grant male employees special paternity leave, either paid or unpaid, following the birth or adoption of their child. This is a policy that is not in the best interests of the child or the family structure.
• That some employers do offer minimal paternity leave entitlements, which are generally less than a week.
• That some European member states offer shared maternity and paternity leave to new parents, which should be the case in all member states.
• That paternity entitlement should not be left up to the discretion of the employer.
• That the traditional roles of the father and mother have changed, with fathers increasingly staying at home to mind the child as the mother returns to work.

Acknowledging:

• That Article 18 Of the 'Convention of the Rights of the Child' states that both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing and development of the child, and therefore should have equal maternity and paternity rights.
• That having a child is a large economic constraint on families, particularly in the area of child-care and this burden can be lessened by increased paternity leave and shared leave between the parents.
• That the large increase in women in the work force, and indeed to women returning to work after having children highlights the need for maternity rights.
• That the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that all people are equal in dignity and rights, therefore denying a father of equal paternity rights is a violation of this.
• That, due to the fact that women are entitled to extensive maternity leave and men are not, this can lead to sexism in the work place and women of a certain age might not be hired for a job or promoted based on this inequality.
• That shared maternity and paternity leave would allow parents equal access to their child and this would be in the best interests of the family and the child.

YFG calls on:

• The Government to recognise the importance of paternity leave and ensure that paternity leave be enshrined into law and not left up to the discretion of the employer.
• The Government to create and implement policies that give equal paid parental leave to both parents following the birth or adoption of their child.
• The Government to ensure that the best interests of the child and the family are met by allowing parents to be able to split the leave between them.
• The Government to recognise the changing shape of the family and how policies in relation to the family must change also.
• Employers, companies and unions to recognise the need for equal paternity and maternity leave.

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