Varadkar amends Maternity Benefit rules to benefit migrants working in Ireland

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Significant move for nursing and health sector staff from countries like
India and the Philippines


Monday, 30 January 2017:  Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has brought in an important change to Maternity Benefit rules allowing women to leave the EU for a short break without losing their maternity benefit.

This will apply to all mothers who have paid into the PRSI system but will be of particular interest to women who come from outside the European Union and want to bring their new baby back to their home country for a short visit after childbirth.

Among the beneficiaries are the large number of nurses from overseas who work in the Irish health service, many of whom originate in far-away countries like India and the Philippines. It has been the subject of a campaign by nursing organisations like the INMO.

“I’m really pleased to bring in these new laws giving women more flexibility to travel while on maternity leave and to visit their families with their new baby. In particular, this is a small but very significant change for the thousands of nurses in the Irish health service who come from outside the EU, but it does of course apply to all women who have paid into the PRSI system. This includes Irish women who may also want to visit relatives outside the EU,” Minister Varadkar said.

“Many new mothers want to introduce their new baby to its grandparents, yet until now, doing so risked jeopardising their entitlement to maternity benefit. I am very happy to change that.  I’m a strong believer in the contributory principle that underpins social insurance and PRSI. Namely that everyone who pays into the fund should be eligible for something back in return.

“At a time when other countries are closing their borders, Ireland stands by our belief in internationalism and globalism. This means a world with fewer borders and barriers to the movement of people and commerce.”

The measure allows a new mother to continue receiving Maternity Benefit and Adoptive Benefit for up to six weeks while they are out of the country, so long as their primary place of work is Ireland. The Regulation also allows the standard two weeks of Paternity Benefit to be paid in similar situations. Continued payment of these benefits is also being extended to Irish and EU citizens who travel outside of the EU for a maximum of six weeks.



Last modified:30/01/2017