Under Irish Law parents are entitled to 18 weeks unpaid leave for each child born or adopted. Generally, employees must have 12 months continuous service to avail of the full 18 weeks’ parental leave. However, if the child is very near the age threshold and the parent has been working for his/her employer for more than three months but less than one year then they will be entitled to parental leave on a pro-rata basis.

The leave must be taken before the child reaches the age of 8 (16 years in the case of children with disabilities or long term illnesses; or within 2 years of the date of the Adoption Order in the case of an adopted child adopted between the age of 6 and 8).

The leave may be taken as one block or, in separate blocks of a minimum of 6 continuous weeks, or more favourable terms with the agreement of the employer. There must be a gap of at least 10 weeks between the two periods of parental leave.

An employee must notify their employer in writing of their intention to take parental leave at least 6 weeks before the start date. This notice should confirm the starting date and how long the leave will last. An employer may postpone the leave for up to 6 months on certain stated business grounds. After that the leave cannot be postponed without further written agreement.

While on parental leave an employee must be regarded for employment right purposes as still working. Therefore, an employee will continue to accrue annual leave and are also entitled to any public holidays which fall during the parental leave period. An employee is entitled to return to the same job after the parental leave unless it is not reasonably practicable for the employer to allow the employee to return to their old job. In this situation the employee must be offered a suitable alternative role.

Complaints concerning Parental Leave must be filed with the Workplace Relations Commission within 6 months from the date of the dispute or complaint arising.

If you have an issue concerning Parental Leave then call us on 021-4943912 or email eadaoin.odwyer@tjos.ie.