Parents leave and benefit update

In recognition of the particular challenges that mothers and parents have faced during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government is considering a proposal to advance the extension of Parent’s Leave and Benefit to five weeks for all parents of children born after 1 November 2019, to enable every eligible parent of young children to spend additional time with their child.


The Government proposal would mean that eligible parents of children born during the pandemic crisis will get an extra three weeks of Parent’s Leave to offset the impact of having a child during the strict lockdown measures. The period in which Parent’s Leave can be taken will also be extended from one year to two years. This, and related costs, will be considered as part of the Budget 2021 process. The support is paid at a rate of €245 per week.


Who is entitled to parent’s leave?

The Act enables a “relevant parent” to take two weeks parent’s leave which must be taken within 52 weeks of the birth/adoption of a child. Subject to eligibility and notification criteria being met, parent’s leave applies to births/placements that take place on or after the 1 November 2019. During parent’s leave, employees who have the necessary PRSI contributions are entitled to parent’s benefit from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.


Under the Act, a “relevant parent” includes: 

  • a parent of the child 
  • the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of a parent of the child 
  • a parent of the child where the child is a donor-conceived child 
  • the adopting mother or sole male adopter of the child 
  • the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the adopting mother or sole male adopter of the child 
  • each individual in the couple where the child is, or is to be, adopted jointly by a married couple of the same sex or a couple that are civil partners of each other, or a cohabiting couple of the same sex 

What is the difference between parental leave and parent's leave?

Parental leave entitles parents to take unpaid leave from work to spend time looking after their children. Currently both parents can take up to 22 weeks parental leave and from 1 September 2020, this will increase to 26 weeks.


Parent's leave is specifically for parents during the child's first year.


Is there a minimum service requirement before a person is eligible to take the leave?

There is no minimum service requirement applicable to this leave.


Does an employee accrue annual leave while on parent’s leave?

Yes, employees accrue annual leave during parent’s leave as though the absence has been worked.


You can view more information on parents and other family leave and make contact with Emma Crowley on 01 605 1668 or at if you have any further questions  



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SFA Fortnightly Update
SFA in the media
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Brexit – Are you ready?
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Parents leave and benefit update
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