Under the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016, a “relevant parent” for the purposes of paternity leave entitlement includes:
- 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
An employee can choose to take paternity leave at any time in the 26 weeks following the birth or adoption.
The employee must notify their employer in writing of their intentions to take paternity leave and provide intended dates no later than 4 weeks before the leave.
When applying an employee is required to provide a certificate from their spouse or partner’s doctor confirming when your baby is due, or confirmation of the baby’s actual date of birth if applying for leave immediately after the birth of the baby.
In the case of adoption, a certificate of placement in relation to the child must be submitted
Employers are not obliged to pay employees who are on paternity leave. Employees may qualify for Paternity Benefit from the Department of Social Protection if they have sufficient PRSI contributions.
An employee is entitled to 26 weeks’ maternity leave together with 16 weeks additional unpaid maternity leave, which begins immediately after the end of maternity leave.
An employee must give their employer at least 4 weeks’ written notice of their intention to take maternity leave and must also provide their employer with a medical certificate confirming your pregnancy.
If an employee intend to take the additional 16 weeks’ maternity leave they must provide their employer with at least 4 weeks’ written notice. Both these notices can be given at the same time.
If an employee become pregnant while in employment, they are entitled to take maternity leave. The entitlement to a basic period of maternity leave from employment extends to all female employees (including casual workers), regardless of how long they have been working for the organisation or the number of hours worked per week.
They can also avail of additional unpaid maternity leave. The Maternity Protection Acts 1994 and 2004 provide statutory minimum entitlements in relation to maternity at work including maternity leave.
The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 provides for a basic annual paid leave entitlement of 4 weeks, although an employee’s contract could give greater rights.
Under Section 19 (1) of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 you are entitled to a basic annual paid leave entitlement of 4 weeks. There are 3 different ways of calculating your annual leave entitlement:
- Based on the employee’s working hours during what is called the leave year, which runs from April to March. An employee who has worked at least 1,365 hours in a leave year is entitled to the maximum of 4 working weeks’ paid annual leave unless it is a leave year in which they change employment. Many employers use the calendar year (January-December) instead of the official leave year to calculate entitlement
- By allowing 1/3 of a working week for each calendar month in which the employee has worked at least 117 hours
- 8% of the hours worked in the leave year, subject to a maximum of 4 working weeks
An employee may use whichever of these methods gives the greater entitlement. When calculating the entitlement, employers should include all hours worked including time spent on annual leave, maternity leave, parental leave, force majeure leave, adoptive leave or the first 13 weeks of carer’s leave.
An employee who has worked for at least 8 months is entitled to an unbroken period of 2 weeks’ annual leave.
Since 1 August 2015, section 86(1) of the Workplace Relations Act 2015 states that statutory annual leave entitlement accrues during a period of certified sick leave.
Employees on long-term sick leave can retain annual leave they could not take due to illness for up to 15 months after the end of the year in which it is accrued.
Employees who leave their employment within 15 months of the end of the year in which this annual leave was accrued, are entitled to payment in lieu of this leave which was untaken due to illness.
Under the Carer’s Leave Act, 2001 the minimum statutory entitlement to carer’s leave is 13 weeks. If an employee apply for a period of carer’s leave which is less than 13 weeks’ duration, the employer may refuse (on reasonable grounds) to allow the employee to take less than 13 weeks’ carer’s leave. Where the employer refuses this leave, he or she must specify in writing to the employee the grounds for refusing the leave.
If an employee requests more than 13 weeks, the employers cannot refuse the leave. The request will be reviewed by the Department of Social Protection.