Statutory Leave Advice Solicitors
The entitlement to statutory leave such as annual leave, rest breaks, emergency leave, maternity leave etc. are all governed by Irish legislation. Employers are also free to give additional leave which is currently not provided for under legislation such as bereavement or study leave.
Annual leave and Rest Breaks
Employees are allowed an annual paid leave entitlement of four weeks per year provided they have worked for at least 1,365 hours in addition to nine paid public holidays. This is set out in the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 and related regulations which also deals with rest breaks, Sunday premiums etc.
The Carer’s Leave Act 2001 allows employees to leave their employment temporarily to provide full-time care for someone in need of full-time care and attention. There are various conditions and notification requirements to take this leave which is set out in the Acts.
The Maternity Acts 1994 (as amended) provide for statutory minimum entitlements in relation to maternity leave. An employee is entitled to 26 weeks’ maternity leave together with 16 weeks’ additional unpaid maternity leave, which may begin immediately after the end of maternity leave. The Acts also deal with issues such as breastfeeding breaks and rights to attend antenatal classes.
Stillbirths and miscarriages
If you have a stillbirth or miscarriage any time after the 24th week of pregnancy, you are entitled to full maternity leave. This means you can take the basic 26 weeks’ maternity leave and 16 weeks’ additional maternity leave. If you have enough PRSI contributions, you can get Maternity Benefit for the 26 weeks’ basic maternity leave.
To apply for Maternity Benefit following a stillbirth, you need to send a letter from your doctor with the Maternity Benefit application form. The letter must state the expected date of birth, the actual date of birth and the number of weeks of pregnancy.
If your baby is born before the date when you are due to start maternity leave, you can take extra maternity leave. You get 26 weeks’ leave, starting from the day your baby is born, plus extra leave for the number of weeks between your baby’s actual date of birth and the date you had planned to start your maternity leave. Maternity Benefit is payable for the whole of this extended maternity leave.
New parents (other than the mother of the child) are entitled to 2 weeks’ statutory paternity leave from employment or self-employment following the birth or adoption of a child.
Your employer does not have to pay you during paternity leave, but you may qualify for Paternity Benefit.
The legislation on paternity leave is set out in the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016.
Under the Adoptive Leave Act 1995 (as amended), An adoptive mother is entitled to avail of adoptive leave from employment, except in the case where a male is the sole adopter. An employee is entitled to 24 weeks leave with the option of a further 16 weeks’ unpaid leave.
Where summonsed by the court to serve as a jury member, an employee must present the summons for jury service to their employer as soon as he or she receives the notification. The Juries Act 1976 (as amended) provides than an employee is required to be present for jury service, but in exceptional circumstances, an employer may seek to have an employee excused from jury service where requirements are such that it is not feasible to permit the employee to take the leave. An employee is entitled to be paid whilst on jury service.
Parental leave entitles parents to take unpaid leave from work to spend time looking after their children. You can take up to 26 weeks’ parental leave for each eligible child before their 12th birthday. In general, you must have been working for your employer for at least a year to get the full amount of parental leave. You must give your employer at least 6 weeks’ notice before taking parental leave.
Before 1 September 2020, parental leave was 22 weeks for each eligible child.
Adoptive leave gives 24 weeks’ leave off work to one parent of the adopting couple or a parent who is adopting alone. The 24 weeks start from the date the child is placed in your care.
Your employer does not have to pay you during adoptive leave, unless it is stated in your contract. If you have enough PRSI contributions, you can get Adoptive Benefit from the Department of Social Protection (DSP). It is available to both employees and self-employed people.
You can take up to 16 additional weeks’ unpaid adoptive leave but you cannot claim Adoptive Benefit for these extra weeks.
You must give your employer 4 weeks’ notice in writing that you plan to take adoptive leave.
In the event of a family crisis, an employee is allowed a limited right to leave work, known as force majeure leave. It arises in the event of urgent family reasons; the immediate presence of the employee is indispensable owing to an injury or illness of a close family member.
An employee is entitled to a maximum of 3 days paid leave in any 12-month period and 5 days leave in a maximum 36-month period.