Fraud Blocker Parental leave changes in Ireland as per 1 September 2020

Parental leave changes in Ireland as per September 1st, 2020

Parents in Ireland are entitled to take unpaid leave from work. Before the 12th birthday of each eligible child, a parent can take up to 22 weeks of parental leave. This applies to both the father and the mother. However, as per the 1st of September, this changes to 26 weeks. We are happy to tell you more!

Parental leave is part of the statutory entitlements for parents in Ireland. Other statutory entitlements are maternity leave, adoptive leave, paternity leave and parents leave. Before September 1st, 2019, the parental leave in Ireland was 18 weeks for each child, which had to be taken before the 8th birthday. Under the Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019, this was increased to 22 weeks and as mentioned above, as from the 1st of September 2020, parents are entitled to 26 weeks each.

What is the criteria for parental leave in Ireland?

  • Be a ‘relevant parent’, which means that you are the biological or adoptive parent, or you are acting in loco parentis (acting as a parent to the child).
  • The leave must be taken before the 12th birthday of the child (or 16 when your child has a disability or long-term illness)
  • The employer must be given a notice of at least 6 weeks in advance
  • The leave must be taken in either one continuous period or in blocks with a minimum of 6 weeks unless otherwise agreed with the employer
  • The employee is working for the current employer for a minimum of one year. If this is shorter and the child is nearly 12 years old, the employee can take pro-rated parental leave.
  • If the employee works part-time, the entitlement to parental leave is reduced on a pro-rated basis

Pension and social security during parental leave

While taking parental leave, the employee is not entitled to pension contributions. Furthermore, the position remains the same and the employee retains his right to employee benefits. The employee can get credited PRSI contributions. The employer must write to the Records Update Section of Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP), informing them of the weeks that the employee has not worked, so that he/she can get credited PRSI contributions for this time.

Ireland parental leave


The employee accrues annual leave while on parental leave and if annual holidays are not taken during parental leave, they may be taken at a later time. The employee is also entitled to any public holidays that occur while on parental leave. The public holiday entitlement can be added to the end of the parental leave.

Changing jobs

If the employee changes jobs and only has taken part of the parental leave allowance, he/she can take the remainder after one year of employment with the new employer.
This is only possible when the child is still under the age of 12. The previous and current employers must keep records of the dates and times of the parental leave that the employee has taken and save those records for 12 years.

Can parental leave be refused?

It is hard for an employer to refuse parental leave. It is only possible when an employee is actually not entitled to take it. The employer can postpone the request for a maximum of 6 months. This can only be done once and it needs to be done in written form with solid grounds for the postponement.

Any questions?

Are you an employer looking to expand your business to Ireland or you an employee in need of some HR related advice? Don’t hesitate to contact us!

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