Working parents of newborn babies or newly adopted children will be able to take two extra weeks of paid leave from today.
The leave will only be available to employees in the first year following the birth or placement of a child.
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection will be responsible for making the benefit payment of €245 a week. It is estimated that up to 60,000 people could benefit from the scheme in a full year.
Employees will not be entitled to transfer any or all of their paid parent's leave entitlement to one another.
The new measures were introduced under the Parent's Leave and Benefit Bill and build on a number of statutory entitlements to leave which parents are already entitled to.
These include the statutory entitlement to a minimum amount of 26 weeks maternity leave and an entitlement to a further 16 weeks unpaid maternity leave.
Since September 2016, two weeks of paid paternity leave has also been available to fathers following the birth or adoption of a child, which can be taken any time within the child's first six months after birth or adoption.
In both 2017 and 2018, almost 25,000 new fathers availed of the newly established two-week paid Paternity Leave scheme.
Twenty-two weeks of unpaid parental leave is also available to both parents of children up to the age of 12, or 16 years in the case of a child with a serious illness or disability.
A further four weeks will be added in September 2020.
Under the Programme for Government, a commitment was made to increase paid parental leave in the first year of a child's life.
The Government has said it is committed to extending leave available to new parents further over the coming years.
Click here for the text of the legislation.