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Blog  »  August 2016  »  Parental Leave & Force Majeure - Blog
Aug 16

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

Parental Leave & Force Majeure

Following on from our previous posts on Protected Leave, we will now look at Parental Leave and Force Majeure.

Parental Leave has been available in Ireland since 1998 having been implemented to allow working parents take time off to look after their children.

Parental leave is available to all workers with 1 years’ service, exceptions can be made where the child is near the age threshold. Under the legislation each parent is entitled to 18 weeks’ parental leave on the birth of a child / placement of a child for adoption. The leave may be taken up until the child’s 8th birthday, or 16th if the child has a long term illness.

Parental leave is unpaid leave, employers are not required to pay employees on paternity leave, nor is there a social welfare payment, equivalent to maternity pay, for paternity leave. However, as with all protected leave, the employee still retains their rights to accrual of normal entitlements, i.e. holidays, public holidays, etc.

With regard to taking parental leave, the rules are quite flexible. Legislation states that the leave may be taken in one continuous period or in two separate blocks of a minimum of 6 weeks. It is also stated where an employee has more than one child they may take a maximum of 18 weeks in any 12 month period. However, employers are free to agree alternative arrangements in relation to all of the above depending on their own business needs.

Should an employer receive a request for parental leave they may postpone the request for up to 6 months, based on business needs, e.g. work cover or seasonal work loads. Normally only one postponement is permitted.

Parental leave is not transferable between parents. However, if both parents are employed by the same employer, the employer may agree for up to 14 weeks of the leave to be transferred between parents.

Force Majeure is paid leave that can only be used for urgent family reasons whereby the presence of the employee is immediately required. It may be taken in respect of immediate family members only, i.e. child, parent, sibling, grandparent.

“Force Majeure” (greater force) is paid leave of up to 3 days in any 12 month period or up to 5 days in 36 months which can be taken for family emergencies.

It is not an annual entitlement so therefore should not be treated as part of an employee’s annual leave calculation.

Bright Contracts has a Parental Leave and Force Majeure policy built into the software, however, this can be reviewed and adjusted accordingly to suit your own companies’ requirements if necessary.

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