Pregnancy, Maternity, Paternity:

If you are female, you are protected from any form of discrimination in relation to pregnancy or childbirth as soon as you are employed. This means that you cannot be fired or let go just because you are pregnant, even if you have just started working for your employer. This also means you cannot NOT be hired simply because of pregnancy.

If you are pregnant, you are entitled to

  • paid time off for ante-natal classes
  • 18 consecutive weeks leave “maternity leave” around the time of the birth of a baby (four weeks should be taken before the birth). During this time, a new mother will receive maternity benefit (a social welfare payment). In best cases, unions will have negotiated for “top up” payments with the employer.
  •  As a new mother you are also entitled to 8 weeks unpaid leave following addition to the 18 weeks. Your employment is secure (i.e you will have your job to go back to after taking this leave).
  • There are also specific health and safety regulations in relation to work which may be dangerous during pregnancy.


New Fathers:

Your union may have negotiated for PATERNITY LEAVE – this is leave around the time of the birth of your child. In very specific circumstances, fathers of newborns also have some rights under maternity legislation.


Carer’s Leave

If you need  leave to care full-time for a sick relative, you may be entitled to up to siixty five weeks (unpaid) Carers’ Leave to do this under very precise conditions. Usually, six weeks notice is necessary, and a minimum of thirteen weeks must be taken. Whether are not you qualify for Carer’s Leave is judged by the Dept of Social and Family Affairs. If you take Carer’s Leave, your job (or equivalent) is secure.


Parental Leave

Fourteen weeks unpaid leave is available to both the father and the mother of a child up to the age of five. By agreement with the employer, this can be taken in shorter periods. It is unpaid, but your employment is secure.


Force Majeure Leave (Paid Emergency Leave)

This is emergency leave, with pay, if your presence is absolutely necessary to assist particular relatives in case of accident or emergency. The maximum is 3 days in 12 months or 5 days in 36 months. You must let your employer know as soon as possible if you are availing of Force Majeure Leave.