Parent's leave

Your entitlement in Irish law

parents leave350Parent’s leave changes from 1st April 2021

  • The parent’s leave has increased from 2 weeks to 5 weeks for each parent

  • The Parent’s Benefit has, similarly, increased from 2 weeks to 5 weeks, for those parents who qualify.

  • Parent’s leave can be taken during the first two years of the child’s life (or two years from adoption)

  • The increase can be taken, in respect of any child born on or after 1 November 2019


Parent's leave is one of a number of entitlements designed to assist in providing a family friendly workplace. It must be applied for as a seperate leave with its own entitlements.

You should consider Paternity leave, Maternity leave, Adoptive leave and also Parental leave. For more see links at the end of this article.

The Parent's Leave and Benefits Act 2019, as amended by the Miscellaenous Provisions Bill 2021 laid down the statutory basis for claiming the leave.


Who is entitled to claim Parent's Leave?

The short answer is a relevant parent is entitled to claim Parent's leave. That leads us to the next question.

Who is a relevant parent?

A relevant parent 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 defined in section 5 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015
  • The adopting parent or parents of a child
  •  The spouse or civil partner of the adopting parent of the child( where the parents have not adopted the child together)


Will I get paid while on Parent's leave?

 There is no statutory obligation on the employer to pay you. Check your employment contract to see if it is mentioned there.

If you have made sufficient PRSI contributions you will be entitled to receive a payment from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.


How do I apply for Parent's leave?

The request for Parent's leave must be made in writing, at least six weeks before the date on which you intend to start the leave.

You must let your employer know the proposed start date as well as how long you the leave will last.

You must attach certification confirming pregnancy and the expected date of confinement, or in the case of adoption, the certificate of placement. This is applicable where your employer is not the employer of the other parent taking maternity or adoptive leave.


How does Parent's leave link with Maternity leave?

The two are seperate leaves and must be applied for seperately. You cannot start Parent's leave while on Maternity leave, however, it can start from the day that Maternity leave ends.


 What input does the employer have?

An employer can postpone Parent's leave under certain circumstances. They cannot refuse it.

If the employer believes that the timing of Parent's leave would have a "substantial adverse effect on the operation of their business, profession or occupation".

 Some of the reasons may be as follows:

1. Seasonal variations in the work to be carried out

2. The unavailability of a replacement worker to carry out the duties of the person seeking leave, during the leave period

3. The nature of the duties mentioned at 2.

4. The levels of available staff over the requested period

Where the employer decides to postpone the requested leave, they must give you at least 4 weeks notice in writing before the intended start date. The notice must contain a statement outlining the grounds for postponement.

The employer must consult with you before issuing the notice.

The leave cannot be postponed for longer than 12 weeks after the proposed requested start date. The new date must be agreed by  both of you.

The leave can only be postponed once.


What if I want to postpone the Parent's leave?

That will depend on the circumstances. Where you want to postpone your Parent's leave because the child is hospitalised, you must put your request in writing. There is no onus on the employer to grant the postponement.


How does death affect Parent's Leave?

The death of the child does not alter the parent's right to leave, provided the other requirements are met.

In the event of the death of a relevant parent, the surviving parent is entitled to leave to provide or assist in providing care for the child for the remaining untaken leave of the deceased parent. This is referred to as transferred parent's leave.

You must notify the employer in writing at least six weeks before the proposed start date of the transferred parent's leave. You should refer to the death of the relevant parent, your intention to take transferred paernt's leave and state how long the leave period will be.

The employer may request a copy of the death certificate.


No penalisation

It is against the law for an employer to threaten an employee with penalisation for taking, or proposing to take parent's leave.

Penalisation refers to unfair treatment.

For more on penalisation see here

If you believe that you have been penalised for taking or proposing to take Parent's leave please contact us using the orange Yes! Tell Me More button below.




See also Paternity leave

See also Maternity leave

See also Parental leave

 See also Adoptive leave


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