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Ireland’s paternity benefit: belated social investment


  • Stephan Köppe

    (School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, University College Dublin)


Ireland used to be a laggard in implementing social investment policies, but has caught up in the last decade with early childhood education (2009), active labour market policies (2012) and paid parental leave (2016). This article briefly evaluates the introduction of the paternity benefit and its effects. Three different rates to measure take-up are discussed critically. Overall, take-up is relatively high and achieves Nordic standards, although for a shorter duration. However, occupational and class inequalities emerge as only about 50 percent of the male workforce have access to occupational paternity benefit to top-up to the relative low statutory benefit. The paper concludes that nowadays Ireland has key social investment policies in place, but on a low statutory benefit level. These schemes can be the springboard for further expansion such as shared parental leave, more generous net replacement rates and longer duration. Yet, with Brexit Ireland is the only liberal welfare state left in the European Union and it remains to be seen if it follows the continental and Scandinavian model or seeks new alliances to create a liberal version of social investment.

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  • Stephan Köppe, 2019. "Ireland’s paternity benefit: belated social investment," Working Papers 201905, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucd:wpaper:201905

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ekberg, John & Eriksson, Rickard & Friebel, Guido, 2013. "Parental leave — A policy evaluation of the Swedish “Daddy-Month” reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 131-143.
    2. Duvander, Ann-Zofie & Ferrarini, Tommy & Thalberg, Sara, 2005. "Swedish parental leave and gender equality - Achievements and reform challenges in a European perspective," Arbetsrapport 2005:11, Institute for Futures Studies.
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