Oct 2019


Parent’s Leave & Benefit Bill... Some paid leave is on the way for all new parents!

The Government is working on a range of changes to help parents spend more quality time with their children. Last week, they published the new Parent's Leave and Benefit Bill 2019. This Bill is expected to be enacted on or before 1st November 2019.

So what is this….?

The new Parent’s Leave & Benefit Bill introduces the concept of paid parent's leave for employees for the first time in Ireland. Originally called the ‘Parental Leave & Benefit Bill’, this has had a name change to the Parent’s Leave & Benefit bill to clearly differentiate parent's leave from parental leave (which is a separate entitlement!).

What’s included in the new Bill?

  • Parents will be able to take two weeks paid parents leave for any child born / adopted on or after 1st November 2019. The leave must be used before the child’s first birthday. In the case of multiple births, a parent will only be able to claim parents leave once.
  • It is available to both parents and it can be taken as a continuous period of two weeks or in two separate one week blocks.
  • An employee needs to give their employer six weeks' notice of when they want to take the leave, stating the expected start date and the duration.
  • Employers are allowed postpone the parent's leave in situations where taking the leave would have a substantial adverse effect on the operation of the employer's business. Employers however cannot postpone the leave for more than 12 weeks.
  • Parents receive a statutory payment of €245 per week (they need the necessary PRSI contributions to qualify!).

The Bill does not require employers to pay employees while on parent's leave. It will be up to each employer to decide if they want to top-up an employee's parent's benefit and, if so, by how much. The advice would be to be consistent with approaches taken on the other family leave types.

Company policies should be reviewed and updated to reflect the changes being introduced. This will help you prepare for any increase in staff requests. Make sure you keep your paperwork & record keeping in order.

Want to find out more? Register for our free employment law webinar.

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Posted byNicola SheridaninEmployment UpdateParental Leave

Sep 2019


Schools are back! Using Parental Leave to help your staff get a good work-life balance

Many employees find it tough to balance their work responsibilities with the demands placed on them in their home and family lives. This is never more obvious than with the return of schools this week – school drop offs and collections, preparing healthy lunches for fussy little eaters, extra-curricular activities to attend, homework battles and an increase in time spent stuck in traffic are all too familiar occurrences come September….

Employers can support their staff by helping them adjust to their new daily routine through flexible working options and/or reduced hours working arrangements. Employers, however, will need to manage these requests carefully, ensuring there are no substantially adverse effects on their business. Very recently, there has been a number of changes made to Parental Leave that employers should be aware of.

So, what’s new with Parental Leave?

  • Parental Leave entitlement has increased from 18 to 22 weeks. This is going to further increase again on 1st September 2020 to 26 weeks. Employers should be aware that, for their employees who have already taken their current entitlement, they will be able to take the additional 8 weeks of leave - provided they meet the eligibility requirements.
  • The leave can be taken at any time prior to the child turning 12 years old. This was previously set at 8 years old. So any leave not taken previously, due to the fact that the child in question reached the previous limit of 8 years, will now become available for employees to use again.

What should I do?

As an employer, you will now need to update your Parental Leave policies to reflect these new changes (If you use our Bright Contracts package, we have updated these for you already in the Handbook section!). You need to put in place a process for keeping Parental Leave records – these need to be retained for 12 years.

You should review every application for Parental Leave very carefully – weighing up the impact of this request for both the staff member and your business. Parental Leave can be taken as either a block period or as single days. Staff must give you 6 weeks notice of any leave they wish to take. You can postpone a Parental Leave application request, based on business needs, for up to 6 months.

What are the benefits of being seen as a flexible employer?

  • You can attract top talent as you will create a culture that respects and recognises that your staff have priorities outside of work.
  • Improved retention of staff and less staff turnover as they are better able to manage their time. They will not feel under as much pressure or that it is not sustainable for them to keep working with you.
  • Improved employee well-being – their emotional and mental health can benefit by being able to successfully multi-task family and work duties.
  • Improved employee morale and loyalty to their employer.
  • Improved diversity. As childcare still falls mainly on women, female talent is more likely to be retained as you have made facilities available to them to enable them to keep working.

There is no doubt that employers are increasingly supporting their staff by helping them to balance the demands of working versus homelife. In this current climate of skills shortages and demands for talented, committed staff, it is hoped that progressive steps such as flexible working options will enable parents, juggling these conflicting demands, to remain in the workplace and feel supported by their employer when doing so.

Book a demo of Bright Contracts today to find out how you can keep your Parental Leave policies updated and compliant with employment legislation.

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Posted byNicola SheridaninParental Leave

Nov 2017


Premature births & maternity benefit

From 1st October 2017, the period for which Maternity Benefit is paid has been extended in cases where a baby is born prematurely. A premature birth is described as one at less than 37 weeks’ gestation. It is estimated that every year in Ireland approximately 4,500 babies are born prematurely.

Currently, under the Maternity Protection Acts 1994 and 2004, a mother is entitled to 26 weeks’ maternity leave and 16 weeks’ unpaid leave. Maternity leave normally starts two weeks before the babies expected due date or on the date of the birth of the child should it be earlier.

Under the new amendment, where a child is born prematurely the mother’s paid maternity leave will be extended by the equivalent of the duration between the actual date of birth of the premature baby and the date when the maternity leave was expected to start. For example, where a baby is born in the 30th week of gestation the mother would have an additional entitlement of approximately 7 weeks of maternity leave and benefit i.e. from the date of birth in the 30th week to the two weeks before the expected date of confinement. This additional period will be added onto the mother’s normal entitlement to 26 weeks of maternity leave and benefit, where the mother meets the ordinary qualifying criteria.

Mothers of preterm babies are advised to contact the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP), email maternityben@welfare.ie, to arrange the additional payment.

Babies surviving from the earliest gestations, such as 23 weeks, can spend months in a neonatal unit in hospital, by the time a premature baby gets to go home, a mother’s maternity leave can almost be used up. This new change has been heralded as a positive step in supporting parents during a difficult time.


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Posted byLaura MurphyinEmployment UpdateParental Leave

Aug 2017


Paternity Leave – Uptake lower than expected

In September 2016, fathers of children born in Ireland became eligible for the first time to take up to two weeks’ paternity leave and to receive Paternity Benefit from the Department of Social Protection. Statistics collated from the first few months of the scheme show, however, that just one in four fathers eligible for the scheme chose to avail of it. This is in stark contrast to the expectation that 60% of eligible fathers would avail of the scheme when it was first announced.

Just over 5,000 paternity benefit applications were awarded during the first three months of the scheme going live, with County Longford, Kerry, Roscommon, and Clare having the fewest applicants. A larger uptake, however, was seen in County Dublin, Cork and Kilkenny.

A further 7,500 paternity benefit claims were subsequently awarded in the first four months of 2017. Under the new scheme, eligible fathers are entitled to two weeks of paternity leave. The two-week leave can be taken at any point within 28 weeks of the birth or adoption of a child, but the two weeks must be taken together.

A social welfare benefit of €235 per week is paid for the two weeks. It is at an employer’s discretion if they wish to top up this payment to the full weekly wage normally earned by the employee. Despite the low uptake so far, it is hoped that the number of applicants will increase as the scheme enters its second year in September.

Current statistics also don’t reflect fathers who may be delaying their paternity leave, for example, fathers whose child was born on February 28 this year can take it at any time up to September 1, 2017.

Guidance on how employers should treat Paternity Benefit and when it should be entered in Thesaurus Payroll Manager can be found here: https://www.thesaurus.ie/docs/2017/paternity-benefit/taxation-of-paternity-benefit/

Related article: Equality for working Dads with new Paternity Leave

Posted byVictoria ClarkeinAnnual LeaveParental Leave

Sep 2016


Paternity Leave Benefits – Update from Revenue

In August Revenue issued guidance for the new Paternity Benefit which was introduced in respect of Births and Adoptions on or after 1st September, 2016.

Paternity Benefit will be liable for income tax but not PRSI or USC. All employees who pay their tax through the PAYE system will automatically have their annual tax credits and rate bands reduced by the amount of benefit paid. Employers and pension providers will be notified of the adjusted tax credits and cut-off points on their Employer Tax Credit certificates.

Paternity Benefit should not be included on Forms P45, P60 and P35L.

Paternity Benefit is payable at the minimum rate of €230 per week for two weeks and must be taken in one block. Although some employers can pay employees while on Paternity Leave, however this is not a requirement. In such cases, the Paternity Benefit should be paid to the employer. If you have any queries on the appropriate payments, please direct them to the Department of Social Protection.

Posted byLorraine McEvoyinParental LeavePayroll Software

Jun 2016


Equality for working Dads with new Paternity Leave

Over the next number of weeks we are going to look at Working Time Protected Leave legislation in Ireland, this legislation is in place to protect employees and includes leave such as; Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Adoption Leave, Carer’s Leave, Parental Leave & Force Majeure Leave. Today we will start with Paternity Leave.

In last year’s budget, the Fine Gael-Labour coalition had agreed to legislate to allow for fathers/partners to take two weeks’ paid paternal leave. The legislation will allow fathers to take the leave at any stage within 26 weeks of the birth or placement of the child in adoption situations.

The new legislation is due to come into force in September this year and when it does it will mean that for the first time in history, the role of fathers in postnatal care will be formally recognized on our little island. From September, every employer in Ireland must offer new fathers/partners two weeks’ paternity leave following the birth of a child. The state will pay fathers €460 for the leave, which is in line with current maternity pay. However, as with the Maternity pay, employers are under no obligation to pay the father while they are out on Paternity Leave. Remember to update your company handbook to include a policy for the new Paternity Leave when it does come in.

Great though it is to finally have some leave in place for fathers, we still have a long way to go before reaching the dizzy heights of paternity leave Scandinavian-style, where the model is usually one of paid parental leave to be shared between both parents, with some non-transferable months. In Sweden for example, parents can take up to sixteen months of leave, paid up to 80% of salary (with a cap of €4,000 per month). Our closest neighbours in the UK allow 2 weeks paid Paternity Leave but have also introduced “Shared Parental Leave” of up to 52 weeks after the birth/placement of a child which can be shared between both parents. Ireland, generally comes bottom of the European table in terms of family leave, so Paternity Leave, even at just 2 weeks is very welcome.

Posted byJennie HusseyinParental LeavePayroll

Sep 2015


New Fathers to receive Paternity Benefit

It has been revealed today that the State will commence paying out two weeks’ worth of paternity benefit from June next year. The measure is a central plank of the Coalition's childcare strategy due to be announced as part of next month's Budget.

There will also be a special focus on reducing the cost of pre-school and after-school care services, especially for families who have children with special needs. The childcare package will be treated in a similar fashion in the Budget to the reform of the Universal Social Charge (USC).

Meanwhile, Children's Minister James Reilly said reducing the cost of pre-school and crèche facilities for families, especially those with children with special needs, will also be kicked started in 2016. However, he did not specify the form in which benefits will be paid to families.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Dr Reilly said the package would aim to end "poor quality childcare" that can have a "detrimental effect on children".

Specific measures aimed at reducing the burden on parents will be brought in incrementally over the life-span of the next Government. But sources say there are considerable negotiations still required before an overall package is agreed. However, agreement has been reached on the issue of paternity benefit.

Posted byJennie HusseyinParental Leave