Parental Leave is regulated by the Parental Leave Acts 1998 - 2019. Parental Leave entitlement has increased from a maximum of 18 weeks to a maximum of 22 weeks from 1st September 2019 in respect of each child. This entitlement will increase to up to a maximum of 26 weeks from 1st September 2020. The purpose of Parental Leave is to allow a relevant parent a period of leave from employment to care for his/her child. Parental Leave may be taken in respect of each child up to the age of 13 years or the age of 16 years in the case of a child with a disability and or/long-term illness. This leave is currently an unpaid leave.
Paternity Leave is regulated by the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016. The purpose of Paternity Leave is to allow a relevant parent 2 weeks leave from employment to provide or assist in the care of the child or to provide support to the mother or adopting parent of the child. Paternity Leave may commence at any time within the first 26 weeks from the date of birth or in the case of adoption, the day of placement of the child. This leave is currently a paid leave. A teacher may be entitled to Paternity Benefit during this period of leave, payable from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. Where a teacher qualifies for Paternity Benefit, the Benefit issues directly to the teacher and a deduction, equivalent to the amount of Benefit, is applied to their salary.
My Department’s Circular Letter 0054/2019 sets out the details of these schemes for registered teachers employed in recognised primary and post primary schools. The Parental Leave Scheme is set out in Chapter 5 and the Paternity Leave Scheme in Chapter 4 of the Circular Letter.