Twenty five applicants in Leitrim were awarded paternity benefit this year.
The new paternity benefit scheme which was announced in Budget 2016 came into operation on 1 September 2016. The benefit is paid for up to two weeks to employed and self-employed people who satisfy certain PRSI contribution conditions. The rate of payment is €230 per week, the same as maternity benefit, with possible increases for adult and child dependents. The purpose of the benefit is to support new fathers to take time off work within the first 26 weeks following the birth of their child.
Fine Gael TD tony McLoughlin sought figures for the number of successful applicants in Sligo and Leitrim. In sligo 42 applicants were awarded and in Leitrim 25 met the correct criteria for payment.
Nationally a total of 2,846 paternity benefit claims have been awarded.
Minister Leo Vardkar said, "The Department has developed a new system to support the delivery of paternity benefit and to modernise the delivery of maternity benefit. The new system supports online applications for both paternity and maternity benefits, with some 650 customers having successfully applied online to date. Online application is the preferred method of application and can result in the speedy notification of an auto award of benefit where the customer satisfies all scheme conditionality. Customers should be encouraged to use this option as it provides a convenient and effective method of submitting a claim."