Parent’s Leave

How much Parent’s Leave am I entitled to?

From July 2022, each parent is entitled to 7 weeks’ leave during the first 2 years of a child’s life, or in the case of adoption, within 2 years of the placement of the child with the family. As the additional two weeks came into effect on July 1st (now 7 weeks in total), you must complete the extra leave on or before your child’s second birthday or within 2 years of the adoption placement.

Parents of children born between November 2019 and July 2020 will not be eligible for the additional 2 weeks.

 What if I have twins?

The leave period remains unchanged in the case of multiple births, or if you adopt two or more children.

 Is Parent’s Leave paid?

No, however you may also qualify for Parent’s Benefit if you have enough PRSI contributions. You should apply to the Department of Social Protection (DSP) for Parent’s Benefit at least 6 weeks in advance of your intention to take the leave. If you qualify for Parent’s Benefit you will receive a total of €250 per week.

While employers do not have to pay you while you are on parent’s leave, you should check your own company policy to see if your employer pays a ‘top-up’ to Parent’s Benefit. Your union representative can also advise you of this.

You can also get credited PRSI contributions while you are on parent’s leave.

Who can take Parent’s Leave?

The relevant parent for the eligible child is defined as one of the following:

  • A parent of the child
  • A spouse, civil partner, or cohabitant of the parent of the child
  • A parent of a donor-conceived child as provided for under section 5 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015
  • The adopting parent or parents of a child
  • The spouse, civil partner, or spouse of the adopting parent of the child (if the parents have not adopted jointly)

How do I apply?

You must give your employer at least 6 week’s written notice of your intention to take parent’s leave and this must be taken within 104 weeks (2 years) of the birth of the child or in the case of adoption, from the date the child is placed with you.

The written notice must include the start date, the way the leave will be taken and how long the leave will last.

How can I take parent’s leave?

You can take this leave as:

  • One continuous period of 7 weeks leave

or

  • Separate periods of not less than one week

Other arrangements would need to be agreed directly with the employer.

 Can I give my partner my leave?

No, both parents have an equal separate entitlement to parent’s leave. Parent’s leave cannot be transferred between parents except in specified circumstances such as the death of one of the parents.

What about my employment rights?

Parent’s leave is governed by the Parent’s Leave and Benefit Act 2019 and is statutory leave. As such you are treated as if you never left work and all your employment rights are maintained except for pay (again make note of specific employer arrangements). You are also entitled to return to the same job from parent’s leave or if this is no longer feasible to a position with no less favourable conditions.

Your annual leave will continue to accrue, and you are entitled to benefit from any public holidays that occur during parent’s leave.

Can my employer refuse my application for parent’s leave?

No, your employer can only refuse parent’s leave if you are not entitled to it. That said your employer can postpone your parent’s leave once only for up to 12 weeks for the following reasons:

  • Seasonal variations in the volume of work
  • If there is no replacement to carry out your work
  • The number of other employees also taking parent’s leave

Also, the postponement cannot be issued within 4 weeks of the date of commencement of the leave and the employer should consult with you about the postponement.

 What if the postponement of my parent’s leave takes me past the 2-year age threshold?

In these circumstances, you must submit supporting documentation when applying for parent’s benefit to include confirmation from your employer detailing the reason for the postponement of the leave and confirming the new agreed dates with your employer.

 What other types of leave am I entitled to as a parent?

This following table from Citizen’s Information explains the differences between the types of leave for parents.

Leave Who gets it? How long? Is it paid?
Maternity leave Female employees 26 weeks and up to 16 unpaid weeks Yes, Maternity Benefit is paid for 26 weeks
Adoptive leave One parent of the adoptive couple, or a parent adopting alone 24 weeks and up to 16 unpaid weeks Yes, Adoptive Benefit is paid for 24 weeks
Paternity leave New parents of children under 6 months of age (usually the father or the partner of the mother, or in the case of adoption, the parent who is not taking adoptive leave) 2 weeks Yes, Paternity Benefit is paid for 2 weeks
Parental leave Parents and guardians of children under 12 26 weeks No, it’s unpaid
Parent’s leave Parents of children under 2 years of age

Parents of adopted children in the first 2 years of the placement of the child

7 weeks from 1 July 2022 Yes, Parent’s Benefit is paid for 7 weeks