Parental leave is a crucial benefit for parents, especially for those who need time off work to care for their children. In Ireland, parental leave is governed by legislation that outlines the rights and obligations of both employers and employees.
The Parental Leave Acts 1998 and 2019 are the primary pieces of legislation governing parental leave in Ireland. The Acts provide for 26 weeks of unpaid leave for each parent of a child under 12 years of age. The leave can be taken in one block or in a series of blocks, but each block must be at least six weeks long.
Employees must give their employers at least six weeks` notice before they intend to take parental leave. Employees are also required to provide their employers with a written statement outlining their intention to take parental leave, the dates they wish to take the leave and how many weeks they plan to take.
Employers are not allowed to refuse parental leave to their employees, but they can postpone it in certain circumstances. For example, if the employer can demonstrate that the business will be seriously disrupted by the employee taking leave, the employer can postpone the leave for up to six months.
It`s worth noting that parental leave is not the same as maternity leave or paternity leave. Maternity leave is paid leave for mothers who have given birth, while paternity leave is paid leave for fathers and partners of mothers who have given birth.
Parental leave is unpaid, which can cause financial hardship for some parents. However, some employers may choose to offer paid parental leave as part of their employment packages.
In recent years, the Irish government has made some changes to the parental leave laws. The Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019 increased the amount of parental leave from 18 weeks to 26 weeks. The Act also extended the age of eligibility for parental leave from eight to 12 years.
In addition, the government has introduced a new paid parental leave scheme, which provides for two weeks of paid leave for each parent of a child under one year of age. This scheme is in addition to the existing unpaid parental leave entitlements.
In summary, parental leave is an important benefit for parents in Ireland. The Parental Leave Acts 1998 and 2019 provide for 26 weeks of unpaid leave for each parent of a child under 12 years of age. Employers are not allowed to refuse parental leave, but they can postpone it in certain circumstances. The Irish government has also introduced a new paid parental leave scheme, which provides for two weeks of paid leave for each parent of a child under one year of age.