Arrangements for maternity must be in accordance with the provisions of the Maternity Protection Acts 1994 & 2004.
Any female employee expecting a baby is entitled to a continuous period of 26 weeks maternity leave around the time of birth of the child. The employee will maintain all of her employee rights, other than remuneration, during this 26-week period, including a full entitlement to annual leave and public holidays.
Once the pregnancy is confirmed the employee is required to advise the organisation in writing as soon as possible and at least 4 weeks before the commencement of her maternity leave. This notice must be accompanied by a Doctor’s Certificate stating the expected date of birth, and a note explaining whether she intends to return to work. Of the 26-week period, at least 2 weeks must be taken before the expected date of birth, and at least 4 weeks after the birth.
An employee may also take up to 16 weeks in additional maternity leave at the end of the 26-week period, if she so wishes. The employee should apply in writing for this leave at least 4 weeks before the approved maternity leave expires or before she goes on maternity leave. The employee will maintain all of her employee rights, other than remuneration, during the 26-week period, including the entitlement to annual leave and public holidays.
The Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Regulations 2000 require an employer to assess any risk to the safety or health of any pregnant employees, an employee who is breastfeeding or an employee who has recently given birth. Employers are obliged to to take preventative and protective measures to ensure the safety and health of such employees.
If it is not possible to do this, then the employee must be provided with other work. If it is not feasible for the employer to move the employee to other work, then the employee is entitled to be granted Health & Safety Leave. An employee who is granted Health & Safety leave must be paid her usual wage by her employer for the first 21 days of her leave. This leave can be for a number of shorter periods if necessary. A woman whose Health & Safety leave extends beyond 21 days may be entitled to social welfare benefit subject to PRSI contributions.
Employees must provide the organisation with at least 4 weeks notice of the employee’s intention to return to work and planned date of return. When maternity leave ends, the employee will be entitled to return to her usual job so far as it is reasonably practical. However, if this is not possible the employee will be offered suitable alternative work.
An employee who is on maternity leave is normally entitled to payment from the Department of Social Community and Family Affairs for the 26 weeks maternity leave, depending on meeting certain PRSI eligibility criteria. Social Welfare benefits are not payable during the optional additional 16 weeks maternity leave.
In the event of the death of the mother of newborn child, within 24 weeks following the date of birth, the father will be entitled to avail of leave. The duration of such leave depends when the death of the mother occurred.
To get her full entitlement, it is a requirement that the employee provides a minimum of 4 weeks written notice of her intention to take maternity leave, and again 4 weeks written notice of her intention to take additional maternity leave.
Termination & Postponement of Maternity Leave | Antenatal & Postnatal Leave