Paternity Leave

How much Paternity Leave am I entitled to?

Paternity leave allows parents two weeks off work which must be taken within 26 weeks of the birth of a child or placement of the child in the case of adoption.

Who can take paternity leave?

The relevant parent is as follows:

  • The father of the child
  • The spouse, partner, civil partner, or cohabitant of the mother of the child
  • The parent of a donor-conceived child
  • In the case of an adoption, paternity leave is available to the parent who did not avail of adoptive leave.

There is no service requirement to avail of paternity leave.

 Is the leave paid?

If you have sufficient PRSI contributions, you may quality for Paternity Benefit from the Department of Social Protection.

The employer does not have to pay you while you are on paternity leave however, they may provide a top up to paternity benefit where you qualify. You should check your contract of employment or company policy for further details.

How do I apply?

The leave must be taken within 26 weeks of the birth or the placement of the child. You must give your employer at least 4 weeks’ written notice of your intention to take paternity leave including the dates of the leave, a certificate from the doctor specifying the due date, or the actual date of the birth if you are applying after.

For adoptions it will be necessary to provide a certificate of placement with the placement date specified.

What if I have twins?

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

What about my employment rights?

Paternity leave is governed by the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016 and is statutory leave. You are entitled to return to your job after paternity leave or to a position whereby the terms are no less favourable.   Again, check with your employer to see if there are specific arrangements in place regarding pay.

Your employment rights are maintained with the exception of pay (unless other arrangements with the employer are in place). Your annual leave will continue to accrue, and you are entitled to any public holidays that occur during parent’s leave.

Can I postpone paternity leave?

There are three areas where postponement is catered for:

  • The birth or the placement of the child is delayed.
  • If you become sick before you are due to take paternity leave, you can postpone until after the illness if you provide written notification to your employer with a sick cert.
  • You can seek postponement in writing from the employer for all or part of the paternity leave in the case of the hospitalisation of the child.

What if the baby arrives before the due date?

For premature births you can seek new leave dates in writing to your employer and also you should send the new leave dates to the Paternity Benefit Section.

What about miscarriages and stillbirths and miscarriages?

In the unfortunate event of a miscarriage or a stillbirth, you can take paternity leave any time after the 24th week of pregnancy. You can apply for Paternity Benefit at this time, by sending a letter from your doctor stating the expected date of birth, and the actual date of birth.

 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