Varadkar marks Mother’s Day by calling on more employers to offer better maternity packages

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·         Maternity Benefit rises to €235 per week – more than €1,000 a month

·         Govt encourages mothers to use MyWelfare.ie to apply on-line

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has marked Mother’s Day with a call on more employers to provide the best possible maternity packages for their employees.

The Minister joined some mothers for a visit to Facebook’s International HQ in Dublin to discuss that company’s policies with Colin Graham, Director, International Compensation and Benefits at Facebook.

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The rate of Maternity Benefit has now increased to €235 per week – that’s more than €1,000 a month – as promised in Budget 2017, and is payable for up to 26 weeks following birth.

Speaking during the visit, Minister Varadkar urged more employers to offer the best possible maternity package to employees.

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Minister Varadkar said: “I know that many companies in Ireland offer excellent packages but many others could do better and can afford to do better. Today, I urge all employers to be as generous as possible with their maternity packages. Earlier this month, the Government increased Maternity Benefit to €235 per week, or more than €1,000 a month, following Budget 2017, which is payable for 26 weeks to qualifying mothers. I encourage more employers to top up this payment and to offer full pay for all or as many of the 26 weeks they can afford.

“Facebook is one of many companies providing a generous maternity package to staff. I was first struck by this company’s policies when I learned that it offers four months of paid paternity leave. Its policies for mothers are also enlightened with up to 26 weeks of paid maternity leave and another 14 weeks of optional unpaid maternity leave, plus baby cash and in house parenting programmes.

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“Not only is it the right thing to do to treat mothers well in the workplace, but Ireland also needs to be competitive internationally. If we want to retain our staff, and attract talent from abroad, it’s important that our workplaces are welcoming places for families.”

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The Minister has also encouraged expectant mothers to apply online for Maternity Benefit at www.MyWelfare.ie.

In order to sign up for the Department’s online application facility, an expectant mother should ensure that she has registered for a Public Services Card and that she has associated her mobile phone with this registration. Appointments for Public Services Card registration can be made online at www.MyWelfare.ie or by contacting any Intreo Centre. Once registered for a Public Services card the process of creating an online profile can be completed speedily using any device (laptop, smartphone, etc.).  This enables the expectant mother to avail of a growing number of online services from the Department, including applying for Maternity Benefit. An advantage with applying online is that a high percentage of online applications result in a fully automated award of benefit, with a very speedy response to the customer. Customers can also track the progress of their claim using the www.MyWelfare.ie facility.