The Government has approved a draft bill aimed at improving family-friendly work practices and supporting women in the workforce.

It is part of the Government's plan to bring the EU’s work-life balance directive into Irish law.

When the bill reaches committee stage in the Oireachtas, Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman will introduce legislative provisions to enable victims of domestic violence to receive five days of paid leave per year.

The Government will also put in place supports for employers to assist them in developing domestic violence workplace policies, and to help support employees experiencing domestic violence.

The existing draft bill contains three key measures to support families and carers, including a right to request flexible working arrangements for parents and carers.

There will be a right to leave for medical care purposes, both for employees with children up to age 12 and carers.

It also includes an extension of the current entitlement to breastfeeding/lactation breaks from six months to two years.

Mr O’Gorman said the Government was committed to ensuring that children get the best start in life.

A spokesperson for the minister said it is hoped that the legislation will be passed by the end of the year.