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Additional leave for parents from November 2019

  • Ireland
  • General


On 1 November 2019, new legislation was introduced which provides for two weeks paid “parent’s leave”. This is a new statutory entitlement which aims to provide parents with an opportunity to spend more time with their child during the first year of the child’s birth/adoption.

The Government has indicated its intention to incrementally increase the period of paid parent’s leave up to a maximum of nine weeks.

What is the difference between parent’s leave and parental leave?

Parent’s leave is distinct from other forms of family leave such as maternity, paternity and parental leave.

Parental leave entitlements existed prior to November 2019 and allow parents to take up to 22 weeks unpaid leave (this will increase to 26 weeks from September 2020). Parental leave is unpaid whereas parent’s leave is paid by the State (current rate is €245 per week).

Generally speaking, parental leave can be taken until the child reaches 12 years of age. On the other hand, parent’s leave must be taken within the first 52 weeks of the birth/adoption of the child.

What do employers need to know?

Parent’s leave must be taken within the first 52 weeks of the birth/adoption of the child and may be taken in either two continuous weeks or two separate one week periods.

• There is no obligation on an employer to pay an employee during parent’s leave. However, many employers choose to pay employees for these periods of family leave.

• There is no minimum service requirement for a parent to avail of parent’s leave.

• “Relevant parents” are entitled to parent’s leave. This includes (a) the parent of the child; (b) the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of a parent of the child; (c) the adopting mother or father of child to is or has to be adopted; (d) the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant, as the case may be, of the adopting mother or sole male adopter of the child; and (e) a parent of a donor-conceived child.

• Employees wishing to avail of parent’s leave will need to provide their employer with at least 6 weeks’ notice in writing of their intention to take parent’s leave. Employees will also need to outline the expected date and duration of the requested parent’s leave.

• An employer will be able postpone the taking of parent’s leave where taking the leave would have a substantial adverse effect on the operation of the employer's business. The employer must provide the employee with at least 4 weeks’ notice of the postponement in writing. The parent’s leave may not be postponed more than once.

• The employee’s employment is protected during this leave period and he/she will be entitled to return to work and work for the same employer, in the same job and under the same contract as before his/her parent’s leave took place.


This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full terms and conditions on our website.

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