30 Jan, 2024

Extended Parent's Leave and Benefit - A Closer Look at the Recent Changes

In Ireland, parents are entitled to Parent’s leave which entitles each parent to 7 weeks’ leave during the first 2 years of a child’s life, or in the case of adoption, within 2 years of the placement of the child with the family. However, it was announced in Budget 2024 that Parent’s leave and Parent’s Benefit will be extended by 2 weeks to 9 weeks from August 2024.

An employer does not have to pay you while you are on parent’s leave, although some employers may ‘top-up’ your parent’s leave. An employee can apply to DSP for Parent’s benefit while they are on Parent’s leave.

Who qualifies for parent’s leave?

The legislation governing parent’s leave is the Parent's Leave and Benefit Act 2019, as amended.

You must meet certain criteria to be eligible to take parent’s leave. You must:

  • Be a relevant parent 

  • Take the leave within 104 weeks (2 years) of the birth of the child or in the case of adoption, from the date the child is placed with you (the placement date)

  • Give at least 6 weeks’ notice to your employer

The legislation only provides for the minimum entitlement to parent’s leave. Your contract of employment may give you more rights.

Does it all have to be taken at one time?

You can take this leave as:

  • One continuous period of 7 weeks leave or

  • Separate periods of not less than one week

Parent’s leave cannot be transferred between parents – except in specified circumstances such as the death of one of the parents.

Does it affect my employment?

  • You are treated as being in employment while you are on parent’s leave (and all other types of statutory leave for parents). You are entitled to return to your job after parent’s leave.

  • Annual leave – you can build up annual leave while you are on parent’s leave.

  • Public holidays – you are entitled to any public holidays that occur during your parent’s leave.

  • PRSI contributions – you can get credited PRSI contributions while you are on parent’s leave.

Parents leave, Parental leave and Paternity leave

Parent’s leave is specifically for parents during the child’s first 2 years.

Parental leave entitles parents to take unpaid leave from work to spend time looking after their children. Since 1 September 2020, both parents can take up to 26 weeks parental leave.

Paternity leave is specifically for new parents in their child’s first 6 months.

Lynnette Kelly

Talk to Lynnette Kelly

1800 714 050hrservices@ifac.ie