Written answers

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth

Parental Leave

Photo of Michael CreedMichael Creed (Cork North West, Fine Gael)
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1017. To ask the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if a person can avail of parental leave immediately after maternity leave eligibility expires; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2311/23]

Photo of Roderic O'GormanRoderic O'Gorman (Dublin West, Green Party)
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There are a range of leaves available to support working families to manage their work life balance, many of which have been extended or expanded in recent years.

Under the Maternity Protection Acts 1994-2004, an employee who has given birth is entitled to 26 weeks paid maternity leave and may also be entitled to Maternity Benefit. An additional 16 weeks leave can be taken immediately after the 26 weeks with no entitlement to Maternity Benefit.

The Parent's Leave and Benefit Act 2019 introduced an individual entitlement to Parent's Leave for each parent of a child to be taken in the first two years of a child's life. Parent's Benefit was also introduced as part of that legislation. Since July 2022, the entitlement to Parent's Leave is seven weeks which may be taken as a block or in individual weeks. An employee must provide six weeks notice to their employer of their intention to take parents leave and the employer may postpone the leave for up to 12 weeks for business reasons.

Parents of children under the age of 12 are entitled to 26 weeks of Parental Leave under the Parental Leave Acts 1998-2019. There is no form of benefit available for this leave and it must be taken in one block or in blocks of six weeks, however, it can be taken in smaller periods with the agreement of the employer. An employer must be given six weeks notice of the intention to take the leave and may also postpone the leave for up to six months for business reasons.

There are no restrictions in the legislation on taking Parent's Leave and Parental Leave immediately following Maternity Leave.  However, there are provisions which allow for a limited postponement of these leaves by an employer for business reasons.


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