Paternity Benefit now available to new fathers

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Varadkar urges new and prospective parents to apply

Paternity Benefit is now available from the Department of Social Protection to parents of children born or placed in adoption from 1st September, and Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has urged all eligible parents to apply.

Commenting on this new measure, Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadkar said:
“I want to ensure that all eligible parents know that they can now apply for their two weeks of paternity benefit, when they take formal paternity leave. I’m especially delighted to bring in this measure which gives fathers more opportunities to take an active role in the early stages of their child’s life, and give the best start possible. I’m also pleased that self-employed fathers will benefit, by having a guaranteed minimum income for the first time during paternity leave.”

Paternity Benefit is available at a minimum rate of €230 per week for two weeks for employees and self-employed people who are on Paternity Leave from work. It is available for up to 26 weeks after the child’s birth or adoption placement, and it is also available to same sex couples.

New parents have the option to apply online for Paternity benefit (and will need a Public Services Card to do this). Alternatively they can download an application form from the Department’s website or by calling 1890 66 22 44. This is to facilitate quick and easy access in this introductory phase of the scheme.

In order to qualify for Paternity Benefit, applicants must satisfy social insurance contribution conditions. The scheme is available to employees paying PRSI Class A, E or H contributions and to self-employed people paying PRSI Class S contributions.

Employees will need to give four weeks’ notice to their employer to qualify for the accompanying Paternity Leave.

Full information on Paternity Benefit and how to apply for the Public Services Card is available online www.welfare.ie

Information Points on the Public Services Card for people applying online for Paternity Benefit:

• A Public Service Card is required to apply online for the new Paternity Benefit scheme. It takes about 15 minutes to register for the Card at a local Intreo Centre/social protection office.

• An appointment to register for the Public Service Card can be booked online www.mywelfare.ie or an applicant can contact their nearest Intreo Centre for an appointment. For the appointment the applicant must bring their passport/driver’s license, a utility bill in their own name, and their mobile phone to their appointment to register for the Public Services Card.

• You can also make a traditional paper-based application for paternity benefit. The form can be downloaded from the Department’s website www.welfare.ie or from a Department office. In this case the application does not require a Public Services Card.

• When an applicant receives their Public Services Card, they must log on to myGovID to register and apply online for Paternity Benefit. This once-off myGovID registration means the cardholder can apply for other Department of Social Protection schemes and services online.

• There is no requirement to have a Public Services Card to claim Paternity Leave from an employer.

• More than 2.1 million adults in Ireland now use a Public Services Card (PSC) to access a growing range of services, including social welfare payments, applying for a Passport, and using Free Travel.

• About 50,000 people are registering for the Public Services Card every month. The Public Services Card is helping to protect people against identity theft, cuts down on fraud, and is the strongest way to authenticate your identity in Ireland. When a person registers for the Card, their photograph and signature is captured electronically and appears on their Public Services Card. The Card is then posted to their home address. It is not mandatory to carry a Public Services Card and there is no charge for the Card.

The Paternity Leave and Benefit legislation meets the commitment in Budget 2016 in the Programme for Government to introduce 2 weeks’ Paternity Leave and an associated social insurance benefit payment as from September 2016.