Paid parent’s leave was introduced by the Parent’s Leave and Benefit Act 2019, to augment the various other types of family leave already available under Irish laws (such as maternity, paternity, adoption, unpaid parental leaves and any other family leaves). Parent’s leave is a paid leave that may be taken to care for young children up until the age of 2.
Parent’s Leave is distinct from parental leave. Parental leave is an unpaid leave of 26 weeks that may be taken for each eligible child before their 12th birthday.
The Act aims to improve work-life balance and gender equality within the family and the workforce.
In March 2021, the Irish government increased the duration of the government-paid parent’s leave from two weeks to five weeks for each parent. The Act further increases such leave to seven weeks per parent as of 1 July 2022. The extension applies to parents of children under age 2 (or placed in adoption for less than two years) in July 2022.
The leave remains non-transferable between parents. The seven weeks may be taken in a single seven-week period or in separate weekly increments. The leave is paid by the Department of Social Protection at a rate of EUR 250 per week for each parent who has made sufficient prior social contributions. Employers are encouraged, but not mandated, to supplement the social payment. All other parent’s leave requirements, as stated in a previous Lockton Global Compliance News update, remain the same.
Employers should modify their family leave policies in accordance with the Act. Employers should be aware that the Irish government plans to increase the duration of parent’s leave to nine weeks by August 2024, in line with the new EU rules to improve the work-life balance of workers.