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Blog  »  November 2021  »  Parent's Leave & Benefit Act 2019 - Blog
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Nov 21

Posted by
Jennifer Patton

Parent's Leave & Benefit Act 2019

The Parent’s Leave and Benefit Act 2019 came into effect on the 1st of November 2019. This Act provides for 5 weeks parent’s leave with protection of employment for a relevant parent in respect of a child born or adopted on or after the 1st of November 2019. The purpose of the Act is to enable the relevant parent to provide, or assist in the provision of, care to the child.

This leave can be taken within 24 months, up to a child's second birthday or within two years following adoption. Parents can take 5 weeks together or take separate weeks of leave. Whilst parent’s leave is available to both parents, it is not possible for parents to transfer leave to the other parent, except in the unfortunate circumstances where one of the parents dies. While on parent’s leave an employee will normally be entitled to statutory parent’s leave pay, depending on meeting certain PRSI eligibility criteria. 

Employees wishing to take parent's leave must notify the employer in writing, giving at least 6 weeks’ notice of their intention to take the leave. They should state the expected start date for the leave and how they intend to take the leave – either five weeks together or separate weeks of leave.

Employees may be required to provide a medical certificate confirming the pregnancy and expected date of birth, or a copy of the birth certificate for the child. In the case of adoptions, a certificate confirming eligibility for adoption will be required.

Paid parent’s leave can be taken in addition to existing Maternity Leave, Adoptive Leave, Paternity Leave and Parental Leave rights, as applicable to each "relevant" parent.

Something important to note is that the employer may postpone a request to take parent's leave by up to 12 weeks, in cases where it is felt that by granting the leave request there would be an adverse effect on the business. Before postponing any request, the employer will consult with the employee.

Once a decision has been made to postpone, the employer will provide the employee with written confirmation that the leave is being postponed giving 4 weeks’ notice before the intended commencement date. The confirmation will set out the grounds for the postponement. The employer will only be permitted to postpone the leave on one occasion.

During parent’s leave the employees employment rights are preserved, and annual leave will continue to accrue. The employer reserves the right to refuse time-off to employees where there is non-compliance with this procedure, and any such non-compliance may be dealt with under the Disciplinary Procedure.

Parent's Leave & Maternity Leave

However if any employee requires to take all or any of the 16 weeks unpaid maternity leave, that leave must be taken directly after the paid maternity ends. Again the employee does not have to take the full 16 weeks unpaid, they can move directly to Parents Benefit after paid Maternity ends, they can take any number of weeks of the unpaid maternity leave that they require and after availing of the weeks they require under that entitlement either return to work or move to Parents Benefit.

So how must an employee notify their employer of their intention to take maternity leave?

At least 4 weeks before the commencement of maternity leave stating the date on which the leave is due to commence.

Related Articles:

-  Don't Forget About Fathers: Paternity Leave & Benefit Act 2016

The Employer & Maternity Leave

Posted in Company Handbook, Family Leave