Parental Leave - Terms and Conditions of Employment for Registered Teachers Edition 2- Chapter Seven

Parental Leave Entitlements

Under the terms of the Parental Leave Acts 1998 and 2006 and the European Union (Parental Leave) Regulations 2013 (S.I.No.81 of 2013) a teacher is entitled to 18 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.

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.

The purpose of the leave is to enable a parent to take care of his/her child.


  1. A teacher must have completed one years continuous teaching service before s/he can take parental leave. This requirement is waived in the case of a teacher compulsorily redeployed into a school provided that s/he has completed one year's continuous employment in her/his former school before being redeployed.
  2. In circumstances where, on the latest day for commencing a period of parental leave, the teacher has less than one year but more than three months continuous teaching service with the employer from whose employment the leave is to be taken, the teacher shall be entitled to parental leave for a period of one week for each month of continuous service completed with his/her employer at the time of commencement of the leave.
  3. A teacher who is on or due to be placed on a panel for redeployment may not apply for parental leave beyond the end of the school year in which his/her post is to be withdrawn.
  4. Where a teacher is on a fixed term contract and the contract would have terminated at the end of this fixed term the parental leave period shall not extend beyond the day on which the term expires.
  5. A teacher resuming duty after career break of two full school years or more and who applies for parental leave must submit a certificate of fitness to resume teaching duty before s/he may be granted parental leave.
  6. Teachers on parental leave may not engage in any type of teaching.
  7. The managerial authority may employ a replacement teacher for the period during which a teacher is absent on unpaid parental leave.

Pattern of Parental Leave

A teacher may avail of parental leave in blocks of at least 1 week up to a maximum of 18 weeks. Please note each period of parental leave must be a minimum duration of 7 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 6 or more weeks, the minimum period which must be granted by the employer is 6 weeks except in the cases of postponement and refusal of parental leave.

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.

Application Procedure 

A teacher must apply to his/her employer six weeks in advance of the commencement date of the leave on the prescribed application form which is located at Terms and Conditions of Employment for Registered Teachers Edition 2 - Chapter Seven - Appendix A.

Employer Confirmation Document

The employer, in granting parental leave should, 4 weeks prior to the commencement of the leave, prepare with the teacher the confirmation document, which is located at Terms and Conditions of Employment for Registered Teachers Edition 2 - Chapter Seven - Appendix B

This document constitutes a legal agreement between the parties. A teacher may revoke the application at any point prior to the signing of the confirmation document by both parties.

Postponement of Parental Leave by the Employer

Parental leave  may be postponed in circumstances where granting the leave at that time would have a substantial adverse effect on the operation of the school and ordinarily the leave may only be postponed once.

In such circmstances the employer is obliged to:

  • consult with the teacher prior to any decision to postpone the leave
  • where the postponement is deemed necessary, notify the teacher in writing not later than 4 weeks before the intended date of the commencement of the leave
  • ensure that the postponement is not any longer than 6 months from the original date on which the parental leave was due to commence
  • agree a new date for the postponed leave to be taken at a time when the teacher would otherwise have been working
  • ensure that any further or subsequent postponement can only be permitted on the grounds where it affects seasonal variation
  • ensure that new confirmation documents agreeing to the new revised dates are signed by both parties with the understanding that this can be further amended provided there is agreement between both parties
  • Where solely as a result of postponement of the leave a child passes the age threshold, the entitlement to parental leave is not lost. The leave should be taken as soon as possible after the period of postponement has lapsed on a precise date agreed by both parties.

Termination of Parental Leave

In granting parental leave the managerial authority should satisfy itself that the teacher is entitled to the leave and that it has not already been granted. A managerial authority may terminate parental leave if it has reasonable grounds to believe that it is being used for a purpose other than taking care of the child concerned. Before terminating the leave, the managerial authority must notify the teacher, in writing, of the intention to do so, and invite the teacher to make representations on the matter within seven days.

Suspension/Postponement of Parental Leave through illness of the Teacher

If the parent becomes ill while on parental leave and is unable to care for the child the leave can be suspended for the duration of the illness. In order to suspend the parental leave the employee must give written notice and relevant evidence of the illness to the employer as soon as is reasonably practicable. The parental leave resumes after the illness. During the illness the parent is treated as an employee who is sick.

Voluntary Deductions

Voluntary deductions from salary cease when a teacher goes on parental leave.

It is the sole responsibility of a teacher availing of parental leave to ensure that medical insurance policies, income continuance insurance, union subscriptions, credit union payments do not lapse.


For further information on Parental Leave Entitlements please refer to Terms and Conditions of Employment for Registered Teachers Edition 2 - Chapter Seven