Parent's Leave

Parent’s Leave

Parent’s leave is a statutory entitlement for parents that was introduced by the Government in November 2019. The purpose of this is to enable working parents spend more time with their baby or adopted child during their first year.

This is covered by the Parent’s Leave and Benefit Act 2019.

Parent’s Leave is a separate and independent right to parental leave which is unpaid and does not need to be taken in the first year.

Relevant parents are entitled to 2 weeks parent’s leave for children born or adopted after 1st November 2019. Parent’s leave can be taken in one continuous block of 2 weeks or in 2 separate one week blocks. Only one period of parent’s leave will apply in cases of multiple births.

Where a relevant parent is entitled to take another form of family leave, such as maternity leave, additional maternity leave, adoptive leave or paternity leave, the parent’s leave must start the day immediately following the end of the appropriate family leave. In any event, parent’s leave must be taken within the first 52 weeks of the child’s birth / placement for adoption.

Parent’s leave cannot be transferred between parents except in specified circumstances such as the death of one of the parents.

Forthcoming Changes

The Budget 2021 has revealed an additional 3 weeks on top of the 2 weeks parental leave for working parents whose child was born or adopted from November 1st 2019. Parents will only be able to avail of this leave once the new legislation has commenced in April 2021.

If an employee submits a request for parent’s leave seeking more than the existing two-week entitlement, this cannot be approved until the legislation confirming the extension has been commenced.

Along with the extension of the length of parent’s leave from two weeks to five, the time frame in which an employee must take their parent’s leave has also been extended from one year to two years from the date of the child’s birth or adoption.

Who is a Relevant Parent?

A relevant parent is one of the following:

  • A parent of the child

  • A spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the parent of the child

  • A parent of a donor-conceived child as provided for under section 5 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015

  • The adopting parent or parents of a child

  • The spouse, civil partner or spouse of the adopting parent of the child (if the parents have not adopted jointly)

  • Each member of a married couple of the same sex, a couple that are civil partners of each other, or a cohabiting couple of the same sex


Applying for Parent’s Leave

An employee must give 6 weeks' written notice of their intention to take parent’s leave, stating their expected start date and the method of how they wish to take this – either as 2 week or 1 week blocks. Employers may request that employees provide evidence of their entitlement to parent’s leave e.g. a copy of the child's birth certificate / adoption certificate. Upon receiving a request, employers should confirm agreement of this no less than four weeks before commencement of the parent’s leave.


Employers have the right to postpone the granting of parental leave for up to 12 weeks, if granting it at a certain time would have an adverse impact on the business, because of;

  • Seasonal variations in the volume of work concerned

  • The unavailability of a person to carry out the duties of the employee in the employment during the period of the leave

  • the nature of the duties

  • the number of employees in the employment or the number thereof whose periods, or parts of whose periods, of parent’s leave will fall within the period specified in the said notification

  • any other relevant matters


Before postponing any request, the Company will consult with the employee.

Employers must provide employees with written confirmation of the decision to postpone the leave request giving a minimum of 4 weeks’ notice before the intended commencement date. The confirmation should summarise the grounds for the postponement. Employers are only permitted to postpone requests for parent’s leave on one occasion.

Public holidays and annual leave

Employees are entitled to leave for any public holidays that occur during their parents leave (including additional maternity leave). The right of employees to leave for public holidays is set down in Section 21 of the Organisation of The Working Time Act, 1997.

Time spent on parent’s leave is treated as though they have been in employment, and this time can be used to accumulate annual leave entitlement.

Returning to work

At the end of the period of parent’s leave, the employee is entitled to return to their normal job under the same terms and conditions. If this is not feasible, suitable alternative employment will be provided.


Parent’s benefit is paid by the Department of Employment and Social Protection (DEASP). For rates, please see further content on relating to parent’s leave.

How to apply

The Workplace Relations Commission is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the paternity leave legislation in Ireland. Queries about entitlement to paternity leave, postponing leave, etc. should be addressed to:

Workplace Relations Commission
O'Brien Road
Tel: (059) 9178990
Lo Call: 1890 80 80 90

Employees wishing to apply for Parent’s Benefit should apply online at They will need to include their baby’s PPS number and their employer’s registration number and the name and address of your employer. They will need to confirm that your parent’s leave dates have been approved by the employer, although no documentation is required to prove this. A Public Services Card and a verified MyGovID account will be required to apply.

Alternatively, employees can complete a Parent’s Benefit application form and send it to the Parent’s Benefit Section of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

Send completed application forms to:

Parent’s Benefit Section,
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
McCarter's Road
Co. Donegal

Telephone: (01) 4715898

LoCall: 1890 690 690


Need help? Support is available at 01 8352074 or

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