Carerís Leave is temporary unpaid leave from work to personally provide full-time care and attention for a person who is medically certified as being in need of such care and was introduced upon the enactment of the Carerís Leave Act, 2001. 

To be eligible for Carer's Leave a teacher must have worked for a period of one continuous year with the school / VEC.  This condition may be waived only in exceptional circumstances and subject to the educational and welfare needs of the pupils.  Where a teacher has been appointed for a fixed term contract and the employment would have terminated on the expiry of that fixed term had s/he not been on Carer's Leave the period of Carer's Leave shall not extend beyond the day on which the fixed term expires.

Prior to the commencement of Carer's Leave, the Board of Management / VEC must be provided with a copy of the decision of a deciding officer of the Department of Social Protection.  This decision must be that the relevant person has been medically certified as being in need of full-time care and attention.

At no time will two people be allowed to take Carerís Leave for the purpose of providing full-time care and attention for the same relevant person.

RELEVANT PERSON

The person for whom the Carer's Leave is being applied, referred to as the "relevant person", must first be deemed by the Department of Social Protection to be in need of full-time care and attention.  The teacher must first make an application on the prescribed Department of Social Protection form (CARB1) which can be obtained from the Carer's Benefit Section of the Department of Social Protection, Government Buildings, Ballinalee Road, Longford, Co Longford (Local 1890 927770).

According to Department of Social Protection regulations, full-time care and attention means that a person being cared for must be so disabled as to require

  • continuous supervision and frequent assistance throughout the day in connection with his/her normal personal needs, eg. help to walk and get about, eat or drink, bathe, dress, etc; 

or

  • continuous supervision in order to avoid danger to him / herself.

PERIOD OF LEAVE AVAILABLE

The maximum period of Carer's Leave allowable to care for one "relevant person" is 104 weeks of unpaid leave. The minimum statutory entitlement that may be taken in one period is 13 weeks.  Teachers shall have the option of either taking Carer's Leave as one continuous period of 104 weeks or one or more periods, the total duration of which amounts to not more than 104 weeks.  Applications for Carer's Leave for periods of less than the statutory 13 weeks will be considered on their merit and approved where possible, having regard to the capacity of the school to meet the educational and welfare needs of the pupils and the number of periods of Carer's Leave already taken by the teacher in the school year. 

For the purpose of Carerís Leave, a week is defined as a period of seven days, i.e. a teacher who takes 13 weeks of Carer's Leave will be removed from the payroll for 91 days.

Note 1 :     Where Carer's Leave is not taken in one continuous period of 104 weeks there must be a gap of at least 6 weeks between the periods taken. 

Note 2 :     If a teacher wishes to avail of Carer's Leave for another person a period of 6 months must lapse from the date of termination of the leave in respect of the previous Carer's Leave even if the teacher has not taken the maximum period of 104 weeks for the other person.   This provision does not apply where the two persons to be cared for reside together.

ANNUAL LEAVE / PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

The first thirteen weeks of Carer's Leave in respect of any one care recipient will qualify for public holiday entitlements.   The right to annual leave is restricted to the period comprising the first 13 weeks only of the Carer's Leave entitlement in respect of any one relevant person. Accordingly, a deduction of 6 days pay will be made during the summer period in respect of each 28 days of absence on Carer's Leave in excess of the initial thirteen week period.  See Appendix A of Department Circular PPT17/03 for further details. 

NOTIFICATION TO BOARD OF MANAGEMENT / VEC

A teacher seeking carerís Leave should notify his/her Board of Management / VEC at least six weeks prior to the proposed commencement date of the Carerís Leave.  The standard application form, available from the school Principal, the Department of Education and Skills or the VEC, must be filled in and submitted stating that an application has been submitted to the Department of Social Protection seeking a decision that the person to be cared for requires full-time care and attention.  When the decision of the deciding officer (or appeals officer) of the Department of Social Protection has been received a copy of this decision must be given to the Board of Management / VEC immediately.

Once the period of absence has been agreed this cannot be amended without the agreement of all parties concerned.  A Board of Management /VEC may postpone Carerís Leave if the leave is likely to significantly disrupt the operation of the school but the postponement must be to an agreed date. 

TERMINATION OF CARERíS LEAVE

Carerís Leave will end on the date specified on the confirmation document, or where the person being cared for ceases to require full-time care and attention or when the person being cared for dies during the period of Carerís Leave. 

In the case of the death of the person being cared for the teacher can return to school on the date specified in the confirmation document or a date which occurs six weeks after the date of death, whichever is the earlier. 

Carerís Leave may also be terminated if the Department of Social Protection makes a decision that:

  • the person in respect of whom the teacher proposed to take or has taken Carerís Leave was not or is no longer a relevant person;
  • the teacher does not satisfy the conditions for providing full-time care and attention; or
  • the teacher is engaging in or has engaged in employment or self-employment other than as allowed, i.e. working more than the 10 hours allowed per week.

Notification of the termination of Carerís Leave will come from the Board of Management / VEC.

WORKING WHILE ON CARERíS LEAVE

While on Carerís Leave a teacher may engage in employment or training / education outside of teaching provided the hours of employment do not exceed 15 hours per week and the net earnings do not exceed Ä332.50 per week. (Ä332.50 is your net income after you have deducted income tax and Universal Social Charge, PRSI, superannuation (pension payments), pension levy, union dues and subscriptions to Friendly Societies from your total wage.)

CARERíS ALLOWANCE AND CARERíS BENEFIT

Employees who have left the workplace and who are looking after certain people in need of full-time care may qualify for either Carerís Benefit or Carerís Allowance.Carer's Benefit is a payment for insured people who have recently left the workforce and are looking after certain people in need of full-time care and attention. You can get Carer's Benefit for a total of 2 years for each person you are caring for. You can claim it for a continuous period of 2 years or in separate periods adding up to 2 years. If you provide care to more than one person, you may be entitled to an extra 50% of your personal payment.  To apply, complete the relevant application form, CARB 1, which can be obtained from the Carer's Benefit Section, Social Welfare Services Office, Government Buildings, Ballinalee Road, Longford, Locall 1890 927770 or (043) 334 0000. You should apply for Carer's Benefit 10 weeks before you intend to leave employment so that the Department of Social Protection have enough time to check if you qualify and deal with your claim. Carer's Allowance is a payment for carer's who look after certain people in need of full-time care and attention.  There is a means test for payment of Carerís Allowance  You can apply for Carer's Allowance by completing the relevant application form, CR 1, which can be obtained from the Carer's Benefit Section, Social Welfare Services Office, Government Buildings, Ballinalee Road, Longford, Locall 1890 927770 or (043) 3340000. If you need any help completing the application forms, contact your local Social Welfare Office or the Carer's Allowance Section.

Carer's Benefit rates in 2012:

Carer aged under 66

Maximum weekly rate

Caring for 1 person

Ä205

Caring for 2 persons

Ä307.50

Increase for each qualified child

Ä29.80 (full rate), Ä14.90 (half rate)

For further information about both Carerís Benefit and Careís Allowance see the Department of Social Protection website at www.welfare.ie

The following is the full text of the Department of Education and Skills circular.  Please note that Carerís Leave was extended from 65 weeks to 104 weeks on 24th March, 2006 and the Department of Education and Skills have not yet issued a revised circular.  All details contained in the circular, apart from this one, are correct.

Care sharing

Two carers who are providing care on a part-time basis in an established pattern can also share a single Carer's Allowance payment and the annual Respite Care Grant. Each carer must be providing care from Monday to Sunday but can do so on alternate weeks. A carer providing full-time care on a part-time basis is required under legislation to provide this care for a complete week (Monday to Sunday). Both carers can get the Household Benefits Package.

A carer who is providing care on a part-time basis to someone who attends a residential institution, for example, every other week, can also be accommodated on the Carer's Allowance scheme.

You must meet all the usual qualifying conditions for Carer's Allowance.

Social Insurance Record

If you are getting Carer's Benefit you will get credited social insurance contributions or credits. If you are on carer's leave but do not get Carer's Benefit, you are still entitled to get credits. You should get your employer complete the application form for carer's leave credits (pdf). This will make sure that your existing cover for social welfare is fully maintained.