Parental, Paternity, Maternity Leave Ireland – What next?

Parental, Paternity, Maternity Leave Ireland – What next

Paternity leave has hit the headlines in a big way with the, new employment law being introduced, extension of paid leave and one company offering a 26 weeks full paid leave.

From November, under the new legislation, both new mothers and fathers will be granted two weeks extra parental leave on top of the current maternity/paternity leave entitlements.

But first what is the difference between Parental, Paternity and Maternity Leave?




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Confused – keep going                                

Maternity Leave

Under the Maternity Protection Acts 1994 and 2004, new mothers are entitled to 26 weeks maternity leave beginning two weeks prior to the expected birth date of the child.

Adoptive leave entitlements are 24 weeks

Paternity leave:

 New parents (other than the birth mother of the child) are entitled to paternity leave from employment following birth or adoption of a child 

  • The father of the child
  • The spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the mother of the child
  • The parent of a donor-conceived child

In the case of an adopted child, the relevant parent includes:

  • The nominated parent in the case of a married same-sex couple or
  • The spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the adopting mother or sole male adopter

Currently, new fathers receive two weeks paternity leave which must be used within 26 weeks following the birth or adoption of a child.

Parental leave

Is available to both parents until their child turns eight years old – or 16 years old in the case of a child with an illness or disability.

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So What Has Changed ?

Changes set to come into effect from 1 November 2019. Social protection minister Regina Doherty has given a general scheme of the bill to introduce the new leave entitlements

  • Both parents will be entitled to two weeks’ parental leave, set to increase each year, eventually rising to seven weeks paid parental leave over the next three years.
  • It means new mothers will eventually be entitled to 33 weeks paid leave, provided they have made enough PRSI contributions,
  • It means new  will eventually be entitled to 7 weeks paid leave, provided they have made enough PRSI contributions

Paid, Unpaid – Who is paying ?

 Now the really interesting stuff – what exactly  is  paid leave

Paid leave (outside of annual leave) is (with a certain amount of  PRSI contributions) €245 per week for the Maternity Benefit  Paternity and Parental Benefit.

No company or organisation need pay anything and all you are legally entitled to is €245 per week

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Paid leave not Fully paid leave?

It is up to your employers discretion to top up Maternity, Paternity and Parental benefit

As it stands all public service employees will continue on full payment on the new leave entitlements and drinks giant Diageo will offer a full 26 weeks paid paternity leave

Differing Opinions:

Ms Doherty said they were looking for a culture change, as it is equally important for children to spend time with both parents and by 2021 parents will have an extra 14 weeks paid leave to allow them to stay at home for as much of those formative years as they can.

ISME CEO Neil McDonald said smaller firms will suffer most from the move, because the likelihood is smaller businesses will not be able to afford it. He said some employers may try not to hire people who are expected to start families.