Work-Life Balance Legislation


Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman brought the new work-life balance Bill before the Cabinet this week.  


This Bill, when enacted, will guarantee parents five days of unpaid leave to look after sick children.


Separately, any parent of a child under 12, or a person caring for a relative, will have the right to request reduced or flexible working hours under the proposed new legislation. 


The legislation will also introduce five days of leave for medical care purposes for all employees who need to look after a loved one. 


The legislation will extend the entitlement to paid breastfeeding breaks from the current six months to two years. The Bill will also introduce paid leave for victims of domestic violence, however, this detail is still being worked on and will be introduced in the Dáil later as an amendment. 


Under the legislation, employees must give their employer six months’ notice if they need more flexible working arrangements to take care of a child or relative. The employer must respond to the request for flexible working arrangements within four weeks – and if they refuse or postpone the request, they will be required to consult with the employee and also provide reasons for the decision. 


This new legislation is being introduced as a result of the European Union’s Work Life Balance Directive which states that working parents of children up to eight years old should be entitled to seek flexible working arrangements. However, Minister O’Gorman is seeking to increase this to children under 12 as part of this legislation.


To engage further on this topic, please contact Colm O’Callaghan, Public Affairs and Advocacy Manager, at