Parental leave policies will need to be updated to reflect the new enhancements when the bills are enacted and accurate records of all applications should be maintained. An employer is also entitled to postpone any application for parental leave for up to six months if granting such leave at that point in time would have a "substantial adverse effect on the operation" of the employer's business. Premature births The 2019 Bill The 2019 Bill envisages that such priorities are to be balanced and should not impose an "undue burden on employers". (Section 14) Section 13 of the Act deals with unexpected early commencement of maternity leave and section 14 A inserted by the Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act, 2004 deals with sickness of the employee and Under the Maternity Protection Acts, you may be entitled to statutory minimum maternity leave of 26 weeks with an additional 16 weeks unpaid. You can find further details on the Maternity Benefit Scheme on the Department of Social Protection’s website. Web:, Email:, A Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA), Find out how personalising this site will greatly enhance your browsing experience. 18 weeks unpaid leave for each child under the age of 8 (child with long term illness under 16 years). Any parents who have already exceeded their current entitlement (18 weeks) will be entitled to an additional eight weeks' unpaid parental leave if the Bill is enacted. You will not be paid for this, but you will get a social insurance (PRSI) credit for each week of unpaid leave you take. If you are a member of a pension scheme, your membership must continue while on statutory maternity leave. Against the backdrop of a proposed EU Directive on improving work life balance, there have been a number of important legislative proposals in Ireland focusing on family leave in the past two years: The Government has approved the priority drafting of the necessary legislation to introduce the 2019 Bill later this year. The current entitlement is to 26 weeks’ maternity leave together with 16 weeks additional unpaid maternity leave. Despite concerns being raised by employer representative bodies around the cost and impact, of facilitating such leave, paid parental leave is on the way before the year is out. Under the Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act 2004 at least 2 weeks have to be taken before the end of the week of your baby's expected birth and at least 4 weeks after. Key themes, including promoting the "participation of women in the labour market" and "making it easier for men to share the responsibilities of caring for children" are expressly called out within the General Scheme of the 2019 Bill. Foreign Nationals on Irish Fishing Vessels, Voluntary Dispute Resolution (Enhanced Code), Dispute Procedures including in Essential Services, Code of Practice to Address Bullying in the Workplace, Code of Practice on Access to Part-time Work, Code of Practice on Sunday Working in the Retail Trade, Code of Practice on Compensatory Rest Periods, Code of Practice for Protecting Persons Employed in Other People's Homes, Duties and Responsibilities of Employee Representatives, Code of Practice on Protected Disclosures, Employment Equality Act 1998 (Code of Practice) (Harassment) Order 2012, Code of Practice Concerning the Employment of Young Persons in Licensed Premises, Enforcement of Decisions or Determinations, Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act, 2004. For instance, an employee on parental leave will continue to accrue service and statutory annual leave and public holiday entitlement as normal. This additional maternity leave can be up to 16 weeks but is unpaid and must start immediately after the end of maternity leave. Paid Parental Leave is on the way – what do Irish employers need to know? You will continue to accrue pensionable service during the period of statutory leave. The new Bill also intends to increase the eligibility age of children from eight years to 12 years. At the discretion of the employer, the parental leave entitlement can be taken in other forms broken down over days or even hours. When your paid Maternity Benefit ends, it is possible to take 16 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. Our website uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, analyse site traffic, personalise content, and serve targeted advertisements. So what does this mean for employers when it comes to managing parental leave requests from employees – and how much will it cost? If she dies within 24 weeks of the birth, he can choose to take the 16 weeks’ additional maternity leave. This also applies to people acting in loco parentis where they have legal responsibility for a child. The concept of parental leave is not new and has been provided for under Irish legislation for over 20 years. This only applies where both parents work for the same employer and the employer agrees to such a transfer. What are my rights under the Maternity Protection Acts 1994–2004? The 2019 Bill proposes that such records should be maintained for eight years after the parental leave is taken and envisages class B fines for failure to keep such records. The 2017 Bill proposes to increase the parental leave entitlement by an additional eight weeks (i.e. In order to personalise your content you must select all three options. Similar to the situation of State Maternity and Paternity Benefit, it will be up to individual employers to determine whether or not to "top up" the Parental Benefit amount. With the Summer break just around the corner, the question of childcare is at the forefront of many parents' minds, and so too the issue of parental leave entitlement. The current legislation entitles parents to take parental leave in one continuous "'block" of 18 working weeks, or two separate blocks. Any such transfer is capped at 14 working weeks. Your pension entitlements during maternity leave depend on the nature and terms of your pension arrangement. Building on existing statutory entitlements to paid maternity and paternity leave, the 2019 Bill introduces the concept of paid parental leave for employees in Ireland for the first time. Our website uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, analyse site traffic, personalise content, and serve targeted advertisements. Parental Leave l Parents are entitled to 18 weeks unpaid leave until the child is eight (or 16 if s/he has a chronic illness or disability). Please visit our privacy statement page for more information about cookies and how we use them. The new Bill also intends to increase the eligibility age of children from eight years to 12 years. This will be paid by the State at the same rate as the current State Maternity Benefit (€245 per week) – i.e. These comments reflect the evolving workplace landscape, with recent shifts towards mandatory gender pay gap reporting and a draft EU directive focused on work-life balance bringing the question of family leave firmly into the spotlight. Copies of the Acts may be viewed or downloaded here – Maternity Protection Act, 1994 and Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act, 2004. Your pension entitlements during maternity leave depend on the nature and terms of your pension arrangement. What are the current parental leave entitlements? If you wish to claim Maternity Benefit credit click here. The operational aspects of parental leave entitlement are unchanged by the new bills. If you are paid by your employer during maternity leave, you may be required to continue paying employee contributions to a pension scheme, if applicable. Information regarding Maternity Benefits may be obtained from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. There is no social welfare benefit like maternity benefit. It is proposed that this Parental Benefit will gradually increase to seven weeks paid parental leave over the next three years. If the mother dies more than 24 weeks after the birth, the father can take maternity leave up until 40 weeks after the birth. This period is not covered by Maternity Benefit but you will be entitled to a credited social insurance contribution for each week of unpaid leave you take (up to the maximum of 16). The entitlement to leave is enshrined in the Maternity Protection Act, 1994 and the Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act, 2004.