With effect from 1 September 2016, new parents (other than the mother of the child) are entitled to paternity leave from employment or self-employment following birth or adoption of a child.
The Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016 provides for statutory paternity leave of 2 weeks. The provisions apply to births and adoptions on or after 1 September 2016. You can start paternity leave at any time within the first 6 months following the birth or adoption placement.
Payment during paternity leave
Your entitlement to pay and superannuation during paternity leave depends on the terms of your contract of employment. Employers are not obliged to pay employees who are on paternity leave. You may qualify for Paternity Benefit from the Department of Social Protection if you have sufficient PRSI contributions. However an employee’s contract could provide for additional rights to payment by the employer during the leave period, so that, for example, the employee could receive full pay less the amount of Paternity Benefit payable.
Who is eligible
Under the Act, a “relevant parent” for the purposes of paternity leave entitlement includes:
- The father of the child
- The spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the mother of the child
- The parent of a donor-conceived child
In the case of an adopted child, the relevant parent includes:
- The nominated parent in the case of a married same-sex couple or
- The spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the adopting mother or sole male adopter
The entitlement to 2 weeks’ paternity leave from employment extends to all employees (including casual workers), regardless of how long you have been working for the organisation or the number of hours worked per week. If more than one child is born or adopted at the same time, for example, twins, you are only entitled to a single period of 2 weeks’ paternity leave.
How to apply
You should apply to your employer in writing at least 4 weeks before taking your paternity leave. If you are adopting a child, you must provide confirmation of the date of the child’s placement.
You must provide your employer with proof of the expected date of confinement of your spouse or partner. In other words, you will be required to provide a certificate from your spouse or partner’s doctor confirming when your baby is due, or confirmation of the actual date of birth if you are applying for leave after the birth.
If you need further information about paternity leave, you should contact the Workplace Relations Commission’s Information and Customer Service.
If you have a dispute with your employer about paternity leave, or if you have been dismissed for claiming your rights under paternity leave legislation, you may make a complaint within 6 months of the dispute or complaint occurring. You must use the online complaint form available on workplacerelations.ie. The time limit may be extended for up to a further 6 months, but only where there is a reasonable cause which prevented the complaint being brought within the normal time limit.
Paternity Benefit: You should apply for Paternity Benefit at least 4 weeks before the date you intend to start your paternity leave. If you are self-employed you should apply 12 weeks before. You will be able to apply for Paternity Benefit online at mywelfare.ie. You must have a Public Services Card to apply for Paternity Benefit.
For further information please see Citizens Information.
Updated: October 2017
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