Increase to Parents Leave
From Friday 1 July, parents can avail of seven weeks paid Parent’s Leave and Benefit during the first two years of a child’s life, or in the case of adoption, within two years of the placement of the child with the family.
The leave will also apply retrospectively to parents who have taken five weeks’ Parent’s Leave prior to July 2022 (i.e., they will now have an entitlement to an additional two weeks) if their child had not reached the age of two when the leave is taken (in the case of an adopted child it is still within two years of the date of placement of the child when the leave is taken).
As part of the commitment to expand Parent’s Leave and Benefit in line with the Work Life Balance Directive, there will be a further expansion of Parent’s Leave and Benefit to nine weeks.
Who is eligible to take Parent’s Leave?
- a parent of the child
- the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of a parent of the child
- a parent of the child where the child is a donor-conceived child
- the qualifying adopter of the child
- the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant as the case may be of the qualifying adopter of the child
An employee needs a *PPS number to apply for State Parent’s Benefit and have the required number of PRSI contributions or credits. The child must also have a PPS number.
Parent’s Benefit (standard payment) is currently paid at €250 per week (same rate as State Maternity and Paternity Benefit).
Other points of note:
- There is no minimum service requirement before a person is eligible to take the leave
- The leave cannot be transferred between parents.
- The leave may be taken in a single block or in periods of no less than one week
- An employee must notify their employer of their intention to take Parent’s Leave and of intended dates no later than 6 weeks before the start date of the parent’s leave.
- Parent’s Leave is a statutory entitlement – an employer cannot refuse the leave but may postpone the leave for up to 12 weeks if satisfied the granting of the leave would have a substantial adverse effect on the operation of the business.
Reasons to postpone may include:
- seasonal variations in the volume of work concerned,
- the unavailability of a person to carry out the duties of the employee in the employment during the period of the leave,
- the nature of the duties referred to in paragraph (b)the number of employees in the employment or the number thereof whose periods, or parts of whose periods, of parent’s leave will fall within the period specified in the said notification, or
- any other relevant matters,
If this postponement results in the child reaching two years before the leave has been drawn down, the 104 weeks will be extended by up to 12 weeks.
Postponement must be in writing, no later than four weeks before the proposed date of commencement of the leave, specifying the grounds for the postponement. Consultation with the employee must take place before any notification of postponement.
SFA’s sample parent’s leave policy and related guidance have been updated to reflect the latest extension to parent’s leave and benefit entitlement.