Pearse Doherty TD has urged the Government to stick up for families and prioritise introducing the extra benefits promised almost four months ago.
Three weeks extra Parent’s Leave and Benefit was announced in Budget 2021, but will not be introduced until later in the year.
Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty said families can’t afford to wait any longer.
He said: “Parents of babies born during the pandemic have been under huge pressure as they have struggled to find suitable childcare once their parental leave ends. Many of these parents in Donegal have been in contact with my offices to raise this issue.
“Many crèches are closed, or taking severely reduced numbers due to social distancing and family members are also unable to provide childcare due to restrictions on households mixing under public health guidance.
“As a result, parents have been forced to take unpaid leave to look after their babies.
“In the Budget, the Government pledged to give families three weeks of paid Parental Leave to address this, but almost four months later the money is still nowhere to be seen.
“Families can’t keep waiting. This isn’t good enough. Families need support now and can’t be expected to wait any more. This is a considerable amount of money, which will make a big difference to families’ finances.”
Sinn Féin TD Claire Kerrane has been raising the matter in the Dáil and was told by the Tánaiste that the change would be introduced “later in the year”.
Doherty added: “Many families are being badly affected by this delay. Their finances are already tight and they should not have to face the financial burden of this Government’s inaction.
“This is something they are entitled to and will make a real difference to the finances of thousands of families. The delay is unacceptable. The Government needs to act now and address this.”