Parental leave

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Dermot Kelly

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The Parental Leave Act 1998-2006 and the European Union (Parental Leave) Regulations 2013 provide parental leave and force majeure leave entitlements. 

The Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019 amends the Parental Leave Act 1998 and extends the period of unpaid parental leave from 18 to 26 weeks.  The additional leave is 26 weeks from 1 September 2020. Where an officer applies for parental leave, the application must be made through the HR Governor at least 6 weeks before the parental leave is due to begin. Parental leave is unpaid Leave. 

IPS Staff are entitled to take parental leave in respect of children up to the age of 13 years. 


Parental Leave

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.

No, under the Parent’s Leave and Benefit Act 2019, your employer is not obliged to pay you in respect of parental leave.


In the case of multiple births, each parent is entitled to 26 weeks parental leave for each child. In the case of twins, each parent is entitled to 52 weeks parental leave and 78 weeks in the case of triplets, etc. 

  • Your employer must be given at least six weeks written notice of your intention to take parental leave.  
  • The notice must set out the date you propose to commence the leave, its duration and the manner in which it is proposed to be taken.
  • You may be requested by your employer to provide evidence of the child’s date of birth and/or adoption of the child.  You may also be requested to provide confirmation that you are the child’s parent.

At least 4 weeks before the leave is due to commence, the ‘confirmation document’ specifying the date of commencement of the leave, its duration and the manner in which it is to be taken, must be prepared and signed by both you and your HR Governor.

Once the ‘confirmation document’ has been signed, you are entitled to take the parental leave at the specified time.

After the confirmation document has been signed, both parties can agree to change the arrangements and a new confirmation document setting out the revised arrangements must be drawn up.  However, the employer is not obliged to change the arrangements unilaterally.

Postponement of parental leave cannot take place if the leave is confirmed. 

However, if the confirmation document has not yet been signed, your employer can postpone the commencement of your leave for up to 6 months.  In such a case, written notice must be given to you by your employer not less than 4 weeks before your leave is due to commence.  Before postponing the leave your Hr Governor must consult with you.

Where an employer believes that the parental leave is not being used to take care of the child concerned, parental leave can be terminated.  The employer, however, must give you written notice in advance of the termination of leave.

While on parental leave you are regarded as being in employment and therefore you retain all employment rights, other than the right to remuneration and superannuation benefits. Therefore you will continue to accrue annual leave entitlements whilst on parental leave.

Employees retain an entitlement to any public holidays falling during a period of parental leave.  The Act provides that a corresponding number of days in lieu of public holidays should be added to the end of the period of the leave.

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