Frequently Asked Questions on Parental Leave

What is parental leave?

Parental leave is a period of unpaid leave available to teachers for the purpose of the care of children. It is provided for under the Parental Leave Acts 1998 and 2006, and the European Union (Parental Leave) Regulations 2013 (S.I. No. 81 of 2013).

Who is entitled to parental leave?

Each parent has a separate entitlement to parental leave from his/her job and such leave is available to each parent who is the natural/adoptive/ adopting parent, or acting in loco parentis to a child.

How much parental leave am I entitled to?

A teacher is entitled to 22 weeks’ unpaid parental leave 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. The will be increased to 26 weeks effective from 1st September 2020

Am I obliged to take parental leave in a continuous pattern of 22 weeks?

A teacher may avail of parental leave in blocks of at least one week up to a maximum of 22 weeks. Please note that each period of parental leave must be a minimum duration of seven consecutive days including weekends, school closures, and days on which a teacher is not timetabled for attendance occurring within that period. Where a teacher applies for parental leave for six or more weeks, the minimum period that must be granted by the employer is six weeks, except in the cases of postponement and refusal of parental leave.

Can I take parental leave in a special pattern in exceptional circumstances?

In certain circumstances, a teacher may avail of parental leave in the form of individual days, where a child has particular medical problems that require the attendance of a parent with the child at a hospital, clinic or therapeutic appointment on a regular basis. In such cases, certification from the hospital or clinic in respect of the absence must be submitted to the employer and retained on the teacher's personnel file.

How do I apply for paternity leave?

There are two steps involved in applying for paternity leave:

Step 1
The relevant parent must notify their employer of their intention to take paternity leave not less than four weeks before the commencement of such leave, and provide their employer with the following:

In the case of a birth: a copy of the medical certificate from a registered medical practitioner confirming the pregnancy and specifying the expected date of birth of the child concerned, or a copy of the birth certificate where notification is given after the birth.

In the case of an adoption: declaration/official placement order, or a copy of the placement certificate, where notification is given after the date of placement.

Step 2
The relevant parent must complete the Application Form at Appendix A – Chapter 5 0054/2019 – as soon as possible, but no later than seven days after the commencement of the leave, and forward it to their employer with a copy of the birth certificate/official placement order for the child.

Am I entitled to be paid while on paternity leave? In order to claim Paternity Benefit from the Department of Social Protection, Class A PRSI contributors should complete the PB1/PB2 form and submit it directly to the Department of Social Protection six weeks prior to the commencement date of the period of paternity leave.

For full details on the revised Paternity Leave Scheme for Registered Teachers, please refer to circular letter 0054/2019.


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