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Your Guide To Parent’s Leave in Ireland (2023)

The birth of a child can be a magical time, but if you are concerned about the potential impact on your career, it’s important to know your rights regarding time you can take away from your job to spend with your baby. You want to be enjoying newborn cuddles without worrying about how to make ends meet, or your working situation. There are various statutory provisions for parents and carers in Irish law, and it can feel confusing to navigate the different entitlements that may be available to you. At CareerWise, we believe a good work-life balance is vital to achieving the career you want, and that everyone should be able to spend time with their child without worrying about a negative impact on their hard-won career. Parent’s Leave is a relatively new provision, and it was updated again earlier this year. It’s a great opportunity for new parents, but is often confused with Parental Leave. CareerWise are experts in helping you through every aspect of employment, so here is our guide to Parent’s Leave.

Parents Leave Ireland

What is Parent’s Leave?

Parent’s Leave is legislation that came into force in 2019 with the Parent’s Leave and Benefits Act. It entitles parents to seven weeks leave during the first two years of their child’s life, or in the case of adoption, during the first two years of the placement of the child with the family.

Is Parent’s Leave paid?

Some who take Parent’s Leave will qualify for Parent’s Benefit. This is a payment of €250 each week you are on Parent’s Leave. This amount was updated in the 2023 Budget, and from January 2023 the weekly rate will increase by €12.

How do I qualify for Parent’s Benefit?

Parent’s Benefit is paid if you have enough social insurance (PRSI) contributions. You must notify your employer that you intend to take parent’s leave and of your intended dates no later than 6 weeks before your leave. You then apply for Parent’s Benefit at least 4 weeks before the date you start your Parent’s Leave. If you are self-employed you should apply directly to the Department of Social Protection (DSP) for Parent’s Benefit at least 6 weeks before you intend to take Parent’s Leave.

Is Parent’s Leave available to the self-employed?

Parent’s Leave is available to the employed and the self-employed.

Does Parent’s Leave affect my maternity / paternity leave?

No, Parent’s Leave is an additional provision that you are entitled to on top of your existing maternity / paternity leave.

Who can take Parent’s Leave?

Parent’s Leave must be taken by a relevant parent. A relevant parent is 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)

Are there any other rules governing Parent’s Leave?

As well as being a relevant parent, in order to take Parent’s Leave you must:

  • Take the leave within 104 weeks (2 years) of the birth of the child or in the case of adoption, 104 weeks (2 years) from the date the child is placed with you (the placement date)
  • Give at least 6 weeks’ notice to your employer

Additionally, it is important to realise that you are treated as being in employment whilst on Parent’s Leave. This means:

  • You are entitled to return to your job after parent’s leave.
  • You can build up annual leave while you are on parent’s leave.
  • You are entitled to any public holidays that occur during your parent’s leave.
  • You can get credited PRSI contributions while you are on parent’s leave.

Is Parent’s Leave different for multiple births?

No, Parent’s Leave remains the same length if you have twins or more, or if you adopt more than one child at a time. Parent’s Benefit will also be paid at the same rate.

What changes have been made to Parent’s Leave?

The legislation was updated and revised in July 2022, to reflect societal needs and current practices.

From July 2022:

  • Parent’s Leave increased from 5 weeks to 7 weeks for children born or adopted after 1 July 2022
  • You can claim the additional 2 weeks’ parent’s leave if your child is under the age of 2 on 1 July 2022 or your adopted child has been placed with your family less than 2 years on 1 July 2022
  • You must complete the extra leave on or before your child’s second birthday or within 2 years of the adoption placement
  • Parent’s Benefit increased from 5 weeks to 7 weeks for each parent (if you qualify)

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

How can Parent’s Leave be taken?

Parent’s Leave can be taken as either separate periods of not less than one week, or one continuous block of seven weeks. It is worth discussing with your employer which arrangement would be the most satisfactory, as well as considering your own needs regarding time with your child. You may feel that keeping in touch with the office would be aided by breaking the time up into smaller blocks; or you may want complete absorption in family life. Luckily Parent’s Leave allows for both options.

Can I take longer than seven weeks?

Parent’s Leave is the statutory minimum amount of time that your employer must give you. But it is worth having a conversation with your employer if you need longer; and check your employment contract – some employers are more generous with their arrangements. There are also other pieces of legislation governing time away from work for parents – you should work out your entitlement to maternity / paternity leave, and then look into other options such as Parental Leave.

What is the difference between Parent’s Leave and Parental Leave?

The similarity in the name of each provision often causes confusion, but Parent’s Leave and Parental Leave are distinct statutory provisions. Parent’s Leave provides seven weeks leave to parents of new children (under two years old). If parents are entitled, they may receive Parent’s Benefit during this time. Parental Leave deals with a much longer time period, applying to parents and guardians of children under 12 years old. Parental Leave entitles parents to take unpaid leave from work to spend time looking after their children. Since 1 September 2020, both parents can take up to 26 weeks unpaid Parental Leave during the first 12 years of their child’s life.

Are you exploring your career options in Ireland?

CareerWise is Ireland’s leading specialist recruitment firm, based in Cork, Shannon and Galway, and we can help you to find your ideal new job in Ireland. Whether you are returning to the workplace after having children, or embarking on a career with an eye to the future, we can give you the expert advice you need. We specialise in the Engineering, Supply Chain, Science/Pharma, IT and Accounting industries in Ireland, and we look forward to working with you. Contact us online now or call us on +353 (0) 21 206 1900 to arrange a consultation.





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