Extension of Parents Leave
The Parent’s Leave and Benefit Act 2019 added Parents Leave to Ireland’s existing Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave and Parental Leave.
Parents Leave is available to both parents, who can now each take 5 weeks’ leave from work for each child aged under 2, born or adopted after 1st November 2019.
Parents Leave can be taken by parents who are employed or self employed and an employee may be eligible for a payment of €245.00 for each week of leave from the Department of Social Protection.
Employers are not obliged to pay parents who are on Parents Leave but may top up any benefit from the Department of Social Protection, if they wish to do so.
Employees must give 6 weeks’ notice to their employer of their intention to take Parents Leave. While on parents leave, parents are still treated as being employees with annual leave entitlements continuing to accrue as well as public holiday entitlements remaining in place.
Surveys continue to show a low rate of parents, in particular fathers, taking up Parents Leave. The aim of extending Parents Leave is to provide both parents with an additional period of leave within which to provide or assist in the provision of care to his/her child. It is hoped that extending the leave entitlement will create better gender equality and work-life balance for parents.
The key takeaway for employers is to now focus on reviewing and updating their leave policies in company handbooks and elsewhere and to ensure they take into account Parents Leave.
“*Before acting or refraining from acting on anything in this guide, legal advice should be sought from a solicitor.
**In contentious cases, a solicitor may not charge fees as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.”