The Dáil has passed the second stage of the Social Welfare Bill by 82 votes to 40.
The Bill gives effect to changes affecting lone parent families announced in the Budget.
Minister Joan Burton announced last week that she wanted to postpone reductions in payments to such families until a proper childcare package is in place to enable lone parents return to work.
Concluding the debate, Minister Burton repeated that lone parents and their children still experienced high rates of poverty despite large Government expenditure in the area.
She said now was the time to change the system.
Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary called on the Government to put the Bill on the long finger to prepare the necessary components on childcare for single parent families.
Earlier, there were objections in the Dáil to the guillotining of the second stage of the Bill.
The Opposition said it was substantially different to the Bill that was originated by the minister.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the amendments that had been put forward by the minister were not contemplated by the original Bill.
He said such behaviour flew in the face of the Government's commitment to Dáil reform.
Sinn Féin's Aengus Ó Snodaigh said the changes to the Bill were far-reaching and covered 12 areas, as opposed to the two areas covered by the original Bill.
People Before Profit's Richard Boyd Barrett said it was effectively a new Bill.
He objected that members of the Technical Group were denied the chance to speak on it this evening and were therefore not getting a say on the Bill.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said most of the Dáil time over the next two days was being put aside to debate the Committee Stage.