New parents are set to get an extra two weeks paid leave during their child’s first year from this November.
Employed or self-employed parents will be entitled to the new scheme.
Currently, parents are entitled to 18 weeks of parental leave, unpaid at present, during the first eight years of their child's life.
They can now avail of seven weeks’ leave each under the scheme as it develops over the next three years.
The new legislation will boost unpaid parental leave to 26 weeks.
It is believed 60,000 parents will benefit from this new scheme.
Ireland is one of only six EU countries where employers are not obliged to pay workers if they take parental leave, being that it's currently at the discretion of the employer.
Minister Regina Doherty told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that the first year of a child’s life are the most formative therefore this additional time will be of huge value to parents.
She added that by 2021 parents will have an extra 14 weeks paid leave so they can spend as much time with their baby as possible.