Force Majeure Leave

What is Force Majeure Leave?

Force Majeure leave is established under the Parental Leave Acts 1998 & 2019 and is paid leave that allows the employee a limited time off work to address a family crisis.

Force majeure leave applies for an urgent family reason, such as the unexpected injury or illness of a ‘close family member’.

Who can I take force majeure for?

close family member includes:

  • Your child (including an adopted child)
  • Your husband, wife, or partner
  • Your parent or grandparent
  • Your brother or sister
  • Someone to whom you have a duty of care (for example, if you are acting in place of a parent, also known as loco parentis)
  • Someone with whom you have a relationship of ‘domestic dependency’ (this means the person relies on you to plan for their care)
  • Persons of any other class (if any) as may be prescribed

 Do I need to reside with the individual to take Force Majeure leave?

No as long as the person is a family member as defined above.

 Can I use Force Majeure leave for the death of a family member?

No, force majeure leave does not cover the death of a family members in this situation you should check with your union representative to see what entitlements you may have to bereavement leave or compassionate leave in your organisation.

How much leave am I entitled to?

You are entitled to take up to 3 days force majeure leave in any 12-month period, or 5 days in a 36-month period. Some employers may allow you further leave depending on the circumstances and you can consult your union representative on this and your company policy.

 Does my annual leave have to be exhausted to take Force Majeure Leave?

No, your employer cannot make you take annual leave before you avail of force majeure leave as it is a separate entitlement, and all your employment rights are maintained while you are on leave.

How do I apply for force majeure leave?

You apply for force majeure leave immediately on your return to work, by making an application in writing to your employer.

Your written application should include:

  • Your name
  • PPS number
  • Employer’s name and address
  • Date(s) you took force majeure leave and the reasons why
  • Your relationship to the person who was injured or ill

You should check with your union representative as most likely your employer will have a specific ‘force majeure form’ that you can use for your application. Your employer must keep records of all force majeure leave taken by employees.

Do I have to provide evidence for my requirement to take Force Majeure Leave?

This will depend on what is in your contract of employment or what is outlined in your company policy as you may be asked to provide a medical cert or some proof of the sudden illness or injury. This can be requested from the GP or hospital as relevant.

 Can I take the three days consecutively?

This will need to be determined with your employer. It may be argued that the unexpected nature of the illness or injury no longer exists, however depending on the circumstances it would be worth discussing this with your union representative and line manager, bearing in mind that force majeure leave is restrictive leave.

What if my employer does not believe that I am entitled to the force majeure leave?

Your employer should provide you with an explanation as to why they believe you’re not entitled to the leave. You can discuss this further with your union.