Summary of Statutory Leave Entitlements in Ireland-a Quick and Easy Guide

parental-leave-ireland

Are you confused about statutory leave in Ireland?

I don’t blame you-it can be very confusing.

Here is a quick and easy guide to statutory leave entitlements in Ireland. I hope you find it helpful. (Please read this disclaimer, though).

Annual Leave

Full time employee

4 working weeks where employee works in excess of 1,365 hours

Part time employee

8% of the hours worked in a leave year or

1/3 of a working week for each month in which the employee worked in excess of 117 hours

Relevant legislation: Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997.

Read also: How to calculate holiday entitlements

 

Public Holidays

There are 9 public holidays in Ireland.

The employee is entitled to a paid day off on the holiday, or a paid day off that month, or an extra day’s annual leave, or an extra day’s pay.

Relevant legislation: Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997.

 

Maternity Leave

Female employee is entitled to

  • 26 weeks’ unpaid maternity leave (may qualify for maternity benefit)
  • 16 weeks’ additional maternity leave (no maternity benefit)

Note: the contract of employment may provide for pay during maternity leave, but there is no legal obligation on the employer otherwise.

  • Reasonable time off for medical visits connected with pregnancy

Relevant legislation: Maternity Leave Act, 1994 and Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act, 2004.

Read: Maternity Leave in Ireland-what you need to know

 

Adoptive Leave

24 consecutive weeks’ unpaid leave for female, and additional 16 consecutive weeks unpaid.

Relevant legislation: Adoptive Leave Acts, 1995-2005

Read also: Carers Leave, Force Majeure Leave, Parental Leave and Adoptive Leave in Ireland

 

Carer’s Leave

13-104 weeks if continuously employed by that employer for 12 months.

Relevant legislation: Carer’s Leave Act, 2001.

Read also: Carers Leave, Force Majeure Leave, Parental Leave and Adoptive Leave in Ireland

 

Parental Leave

18 weeks unpaid leave for each child under the age of 8 (child with long term illness under 16 years). There is no social welfare benefit like maternity benefit.

Read also: New Parental Leave Law in Ireland

 

Paternity Leave

2 weeks’ paternity leave for fathers. This will be paid at a rate of €230 per week and will be based on the same prsi requirements as maternity leave.

 

Force Majeure Leave

3 days in any 12-month period or 5 days in a 36-month period. Force Majeure leave is paid leave.

Read also: Carers Leave, Force Majeure Leave, Parental Leave and Adoptive Leave in Ireland

Parental, Carers, Maternity and Adoptive Leave Claims to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC)

parental-leave-ireland

There are a number of claims you can bring to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in respect of adoptive leave, carer’s leave, parental leave, force majeure leave, and maternity leave.

Adoptive Leave

  1. Have you been granted adoptive leave entitlements?

Section 6 of the Adoptive Leave Act, 1995 entitles employed adoptive mothers or sole male adopters to a minimum period of adoptive leave of 24 weeks.

Section 9 of the Adoptive Leave Act, 1995 entitles an adopting father to adoptive leave where the adopting mother has died.

  1. Have you been granted additional adoptive leave rights?

Section 8 of the Adoptive Leave Act, 1995 entitles you are also entitled to take an additional 16 weeks’ unpaid additional leave after your adoptive leave end

Section 10 of the Adoptive Leave Act, 1995 entitles the adopting father to additional adoptive leave where the adopting mother has died

 

Carer’s Leave

  1. Have you been granted your carer’s leave?

An employee with 12 months’ continuous service is entitled to carer’s leave of 104 weeks to provide full-time care and attention to a relevant person.

An employee shall not be entitled to carer’s leave during the same period in which another employee is absent from employment on carer’s leave for the purpose of providing full-time care and attention to the same relevant person.

Section 6 of Carer’s Leave Act, 2001.

  1. Have you, on the expiry of your carer’s leave, been allowed to return to work or been offered a suitable alternative employment
  • An employee’s contract on return to work must not be less favourable than that under which they were employed before the absence on Carer’s Leave

Section 14 Carer’s Leave Act, 2001

  • An employee is entitled to return to work but it is not reasonably practicable for the employer to permit the employee to return to work the employee shall be entitled to be offered by their employer a suitable alternative employment under new contact of employment

Section 15 Carer’s Leave Act, 2001

 

Parental Leave

  1. Did you receive your entitlement to parental leave?

            An employee who is the natural, adopting or adoptive parent of a child who has complete on year’s continuous employment is entitle to unpaid parental leave of 14 working weeks.

Section 6 Parental Leave Act, 1998

Note: this entitlement has changed to 18 working weeks-read the new parental leave entitlements in Ireland.

Section 7 Parental Leave Act, 1998 sets out the manner in which the leave can be taken.

         Force Majeure Leave

Where an employee shall be entitled to leave with pay from his employment for urgent family reasons (injury, illness etc)

Maximum force majeure leave which may be availed is 3 days in 12 consecutive months or 5 days in 36 consecutive months

Section 13 Parental Leave act, 1998.

  1. On the expiry of your parental leave have you been allowed to return to work or were offered suitable alternative employment?

An employee’s contract on return to work must not be less favourable than under which they were employed before the absence on parental leave

Section 15 Parental Leave Act, 1998.

Where it is not reasonably practicable for the employer to permit the employee to return to work the employee shall be entitled to be offered by the employer suitable alternative employment under a new contract of employment

Section 16 Parental Leave Act, 1998

Maternity Leave

  1. Did you receive your entitlement to maternity leave?
  • Pregnant employees are entitled to 26 weeks’ maternity leave
  • If the baby’s late birth means that an employee was less than 4 weeks’ maternity leave remaining after the week in which her baby was born she may extend her maternity leave to ensure that she has a full 4 weeks off following the week of the birth
  • An employee who has taken her maternity leave may be entitled to additional maternity leave of up to 16 weeks

Section 8 Maternity Protection Act, 1994

New Parental Leave Law in Ireland-Family Leave Changes

parental-leave-ireland

Budget 2016 saw new parental leave entitlements being announced.

Statutory paternity leave of two weeks was announced and is to take effect in September 2016. This will be paid at a rate of €230 per week and will be based on the same prsi requirements as maternity leave.

Up to now most men would have to take unpaid leave-with the employer’s agreement-or holidays.

Parental leave has been available to men and women since 1998 but the uptake amongst men is as low as 5% because it is unpaid.

Employers should consider drawing up paternity leave policies for the new regime to set out how the employee can apply, and other details.

Prior to this change, the entitlement to parental leave in Ireland changed on 8th March, 2013 when the EU Parental Leave Directive 2010/18/EU was transposed into Irish law.

The Irish Government indicated prior to  that they would be publishing a new Family Law Bill which will bring all existing family leave legislation into one Act.

This new Family Law Bill will therefore cover carer’s leave, parental leave, maternity leave, and adoptive leave.

Parental Leave Changes March 2013

Here is a summary of the changes in relation to parental leave when EU Parental Leave Directive 2010/18/EU is transposed into Irish law on 8th March, 2013.

UPDATE 8th March, 2013

Statutory Instrument no. 81 of 2013, European Union (Parental Leave) Regulations 2013, transpose EU directive 2010/18 EU into Irish law with effect from 8th March, 2013.

Click on the link above to read the regulations.

Summary of EU Parental Leave Directive 2010/18/EU

Workers are entitled to parental leave on the birth or adoption of a child. Such leave may be taken until the child has reached an age determined by national law and/or collective agreements, but before the age of eight.

This Directive applies equally to all workers, men and women, irrespective of their type of employment contract (open-ended, fixed-term, part-time or temporary).

Parental leave shall be granted now for up to 18 weeks.(See Parental Leave Regulations, 2013 above)

In principle, workers should be able to take all of their leave. It should therefore not be transferable from one parent to the other. However, such transfers may be authorised on condition that each parent retains at least one of the four months of leave.

Taking of leave

The conditions of access to leave and adaptability of leave shall be defined by national law and/or collective agreements. For example, European Union (EU) States and/or social partners may:

• adapt leave to the needs of parents and employers, by granting leave on a full-time or part-time basis, in a piecemeal way or in the form of a time-credit system;

• make this right subject to a length of service qualification which shall not exceed one year. Where appropriate, that period shall be calculated taking account of all of the successive fixed-term contracts concluded with the same employer;

• authorise the postponement of leave by the employer, for justifiable reasons related to the organisation;

• authorise special arrangements to ensure the proper operation of small undertakings.

Workers wishing to take parental leave must give notice to the employer. The period of notice shall be specified in each EU country taking into account the interests of workers and of employers.

Each EU country shall also be encouraged to define additional measures and/or the specific conditions for the taking of leave by adoptive parents and parents of children with a disability or a long-term illness.

Taking Parental Leave In Ireland

The 18 weeks per child may be taken in one continuous period or in 2 separate blocks of a minimum of 6 weeks. There must be a gap of at least 10 weeks between the 2 periods of parental leave per child. However, if your employer agrees you can separate your leave into periods of days or even hours.

Section 11 of the Parental Leave Act, 1998 allows the employer to postpone the leave for “substantial reasons” (“would have a substantial adverse effect on the operation of his or her business, profession or occupation”).

Transfer of leave between parents:

Where 2 or more parents in respect of a child are entitled to parental leave in respect of the child and the parents are each employed by the same employer, then each relevant parent shall, subject to the consent of the employer concerned, be entitled to transfer part, not exceeding 14 working weeks, of the period of his or her parental leave to any other relevant parent in respect of the child.

Return to work and non-discrimination

After taking parental leave, workers shall have the right to return to the same job. If that is not possible, the employer must offer them an equivalent or similar job consistent with their employment contract or employment relationship.

In addition, rights acquired or in the process of being acquired by the worker on the date on which parental leave starts:

• shall be maintained as they stand until the end of the leave;

• shall apply at the end of the leave, as shall all changes arising from national law, collective agreements and/or practice.

Similarly, workers shall be protected against less favourable treatment or dismissal on the grounds of an application for, or the taking of, parental leave.

All matters regarding social security and income in relation to parental leave are for determination by EU States and/or national social partners. The Agreement does not therefore contain any stipulations concerning the payment of salary or compensation during parental leave.

Finally, on their return from leave, workers must be able to request changes to their working hours and/or patterns for a set period of time. Employers shall consider and respond to such requests, taking into account both employers’ and workers’ needs.

Leave on grounds of force majeure

Workers may also request leave on grounds of force majeure for family reasons.

Such leave may be requested in particular in cases of sickness or accident making the immediate presence of the worker within the family indispensable.

Section 13 of the Parental Leave act, 1998 states:

13.—(1) An employee shall be entitled to leave with pay from his or her employment, to be known and referred to in this Act as “force majeure leave”, where, for urgent family reasons, owing to an injury to or the illness of a person specified in subsection (2), the immediate presence of the employee at the place where the person is, whether at his or her home or elsewhere, is indispensable.
(2) The persons referred to in subsection (1) are—
(a) a person of whom the employee is the parent or adoptive parent,
(b) the spouse of the employee or a person with whom the employee is living as husband or wife,
(c) a person to whom the employee is in loco parentis,
(d) a brother or sister of the employee,
(e) a parent or grandparent of the employee, and
(f) persons of such other (if any) class or classes as may be prescribed.
(3) When an employee takes force majeure leave, he or she shall, as soon as reasonably practicable thereafter, by notice in the prescribed form given to his or her employer, confirm that he or she has taken such leave and the notice shall specify the dates on which it was taken and contain a statement of the facts entitling the employee to force majeure leave.
(4) Force majeure leave shall consist of one or more days on which, but for the leave, the employee would be working in the employment concerned but shall not exceed 3 days in any period of 12 consecutive months or 5 days in any period of 36 consecutive months.
(5) A day on which an employee is absent from work on force majeure leave in an employment for part only of the period during which he or she is required to work in the employment on that day shall be deemed, for the purposes of subsection (4), to be one day of force majeureleave.

Even though force majeure leave is included in the Parental Leave Act, 1988 it is paid leave while parental leave is unpaid.

Context

This Directive introduces the revised Framework Agreement concluded by the European social partners on 18 June 2009. This Agreement follows the Framework Agreement of 14 December 1995 on parental leave.

2010/18/EU

Legislation

Parental leave Act, 1998

Parental Leave (Amendment) Act, 2006

Statutory Instrument no. 81 of 2013, European Union (Parental Leave) Regulations 2013

 Redress

Breach of the Parental Leave Act, 1998 can see a Rights Commissioner awarding up to 20 weeks remuneration in compensation to the employee (Section 21 of the Parental Leave Act, 1998)

Carers Leave, Force Majeure Leave, Parental Leave and Adoptive Leave in Ireland

parental leave

The entitlements to parental leave and force majeure leave in Irish employment law are conferred by the Parental Leave Act, 1998 and 2006. A natural or adoptive parent whose child has not yet reached the age of 8 is entitled to eighteen working weeks of parental leave.

NOTE: The law surrounding parental leave changed in 2013 thanks to a new EU directive which was transposed into Irish law. You can read about the new parental leave situation here.

The parent must have at least one year’s continuous service and the leave can be taken in one block of eighteen weeks or, with the employer’s consent, a combination of days and hours.

The parent is obliged to give at least six weeks’ notice of intention to take parental leave and it is a condition of the leave that it be used to take care of a child.

The employer can postpone parental leave for no more than six months where the leave would have an adverse effect on his/her business.

Parental leave is unpaid leave and unlike maternity leave the employee is not entitled to any social welfare payments. However employees on parental leave benefit from all other employment benefits apart from remuneration and pension benefits.

Force Majeure Leave

Force majeure leave is actually paid leave. It occurs where for urgent family reasons owing to illness or injury the immediate presence of the employee is required where the injured/ill person is.

It may be taken in respect of a child, spouse, brother, sister, parent, grandparent or person to whom the employee is in loco parentis.

Force majeure leave cannot exceed three days in any period of twelve months or exceed five days in a period of thirty six consecutive months. (Note: circular 32/2007 from the Department of Enterprise and Skills affords slightly different arrangements in the education sector in respect of force majeure leave)

Section 13 of the Parental Leave Act, 1998 sets out the entitlement re force majeure leave:

13.—(1) An employee shall be entitled to leave with pay from his or her employment, to be known and referred to in this Act as “force majeure leave”, where, for urgent family reasons, owing to an injury to or the illness of a person specified in subsection (2), the immediate presence of the employee at the place where the person is, whether at his or her home or elsewhere, is indispensable.
(2) The persons referred to in subsection (1) are—
(a) a person of whom the employee is the parent or adoptive parent,
(b) the spouse of the employee or a person with whom the employee is living as husband or wife,
(c) a person to whom the employee is in loco parentis,
(d) a brother or sister of the employee,
(e) a parent or grandparent of the employee, and
(f) persons of such other (if any) class or classes as may be prescribed.
(3) When an employee takes force majeure leave, he or she shall, as soon as reasonably practicable thereafter, by notice in the prescribed form given to his or her employer, confirm that he or she has taken such leave and the notice shall specify the dates on which it was taken and contain a statement of the facts entitling the employee to force majeure leave.
(4) Force majeure leave shall consist of one or more days on which, but for the leave, the employee would be working in the employment concerned but shall not exceed 3 days in any period of 12 consecutive months or 5 days in any period of 36 consecutive months.
(5) A day on which an employee is absent from work on force majeure leave in an employment for part only of the period during which he or she is required to work in the employment on that day shall be deemed, for the purposes of subsection (4), to be one day of force majeure leave.

Other Types of Leave

Other types of leave include

  1. Adoptive leave
  2. Carer’s leave

All of these leave entitlements, in addition to maternity leave, have slightly different requirements, entitlements for employees, and obligations for employers.

Adoptive Leave

The Adoptive Leave Acts, 1995 and 2005 provide for adoptive leave in Ireland.  A mother or sole male adopter is entitled to 24 consecutive weeks of unpaid adoptive leave. There is an entitlement to an additional 16 weeks of adoptive leave, again unpaid. There are social welfare benefits available to the employee.

As with maternity leave the employee is obliged to give four weeks written notice of taking the leave and/or returning to work.

The employee continues to accrue his/her entitlements with the exception of remuneration.

The Adoptive Leave Act, 2005 provides further entitlements to the employee including

  • Time off for pre-adoption classes and meetings
  • The postponement of adoptive leave in the event of the hospitilisation of the child.

(See also the Adoptive Leave Act, 1995).

Disputes about Adoptive Leave

Disputes around adoptive leave (save for an unfair dismissals claim as a result of the failure of the employer to allow the return to work) are referred to the Rights Commissioner service.

Carer’s Leave

Carer’s leave entitlements are granted to employees who have at least 12 months continuous service courtesy of the Carer’s Leave Act 2001. It allows employees to temporarily leave employment for between 13 and 104 weeks to allow caring full time.

Carers may be entitled to carer’s benefit and are permitted to work for a maximum of 15 hours per week while on leave.

To qualify for carer’s leave an employee will need, inter alia, a medical assessment that the person for whom he/she will be caring is in need of a full time carer. The employee’s entitlements in employment will not be affected apart from those relating to remuneration, holidays, and pensions.

Generally, the employee is entitled to return to the same position that they left. If this is not feasible, then they should be no worse off in terms of their terms and conditions of employment.

Return to work. 14.—(1) On the termination of carer’s leave in accordance with this Act, the employee concerned shall be entitled to return to work—
(a) with the employer with whom he or she was working immediately before the start of the period or, where during the employee’s absence from work there was or were a change or changes of ownership of the undertaking in which the employee was employed immediately before the absence, the owner on the expiration of the period (“the successor”),
(b) in the job that the employee held immediately before the commencement of the period, and
(c) under the contract of employment in respect of which the employee was employed immediately before the commencement of the period or, where a change of ownership such as is referred to in paragraph (a) has occurred, under a contract of employment with the successor, that is identical to the contract under which the employee was employed immediately before such commencement, and (in either case) under terms or conditions not less favourable to the employee than those that would have been applicable to him or her if he or she had not been so absent from work.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1)(b), where the job held by an employee immediately before the commencement of a period of carer’s leave to which he or she is entitled was not the employee’s normal or usual job, the employee shall be entitled to return to work, either in that job or in his or her normal or usual job as soon as is practicable without contravention by the employee or the employer of any provision of a statute or provision made under statute.
(3) Where, because of an interruption or cessation of work at an employee’s place of employment that exists at the time of the expiration of a period of carer’s leave taken by the employee, it is unreasonable to expect the employee to return to work on such expiration, the employee may return to work instead when work resumes at the place of employment after the interruption or cessation, or as soon as reasonably practicable after such resumption.
Right to alternative employment. 15.—(1) Where an employee is entitled to return to work pursuant to section 14 but it is not reasonably practicable for the employer to permit the employee to return to work in accordance with that section, the employee shall be entitled to be offered by his or her employer suitable alternative employment under a new contract of employment.
(2) Work under a new contract of employment constitutes suitable alternative work for the purposes of this Act if—
(a) it is of a kind that is suitable in relation to the employee concerned and appropriate for the employee to do in the circumstances.
(b) the terms or conditions of the contract relating to the place where the work under it is required to be done, the capacity in which the employee concerned is to be employed and any other terms or conditions of employment are not substantially less favourable to the employee than those of his or her contract of employment immediately before the commencement of the period of absence from work while on carer’s leave, and
(c) the continuity of service is preserved.

Disputes between employer and employee in respect of carer’s leave must be referred to the Rights Commissioner service in the first instance.

You are strongly advised to seek professional legal advice in relation to any aspect of this or other employment law issue covered on this site.