Creating a family-friendly workplace

Having a family-friendly work environment is very important for any employee who may have a young family and requires flexibility. It is important that you keep up to date with the ever-changing laws around this. Ireland continues to increase paid time off for parents and it is important to communicate this to your staff. This blog will take you through what current entitlements are and what to look out for in 2022.

Maternity Leave

If an employee becomes pregnant they are entitled to take leave for a basic period of 26 weeks paid. They can also take an additional 16 weeks of unpaid leave. In the case of a stillbirth or a miscarriage, an employee would be entitled to the full maternity leave if this occurs after the 24th week of pregnancy. A number of countries and employers are bringing in paid leave for this time.

Paternity Leave

Eligible employees are entitled to take two consecutive weeks for paternity leave. This leave would need to be taken within the first 6 months of when the baby is born. An employee can apply for paternity benefit which is €245 a week for the two weeks.

Parents Leave

Not to be mistaken with parental leave! Having increased parents leave in April 2021, a parent is now entitled to 5 paid weeks leave during the first 2 years of the child’s life. Before April 2021, parents were only entitled to 2 weeks so we have seen a big increase.

Parental Leave

Parental leave is another leave that has increased over the last 2 years. Parental leave is now at 26 weeks and must be taken before the child is 12 years old. Note the age increases to 16 if the child has a disability so it is important that this is established. This is an unpaid leave however which makes it uncommon for it to be taken in one block.

Adoptive Leave

There have been efforts with this type of leave to provide gender equality within the family and the workforce. This now means that any couple that jointly adopts a child gets to choose who can take the leave. The leave includes 24 weeks paid and 16 additional unpaid weeks.

Carer’s Leave

An employee can take a maximum of 104 weeks of unpaid leave to care for someone who needs it. This is decided by the Department of Social Protection, which an employee can apply directly for. It is important to remind your employees that this can be a lengthy process and to have this prepared. An employee is permitted to work for up to 18.5 hours a week during this period.

Force Majeure Leave

Force majeure is a paid leave, also can be referred to as emergency leave. This occurs where there is an urgent family matter owing to injury or illness and requires the immediate presence of the employee. An employee cannot exceed 3 days in any 12 month period or exceed 5 days in a period of 36 months.

As of yet there is no such leave for surrogacy, however it is becoming more and more pressing. The Court of Justice of the European Union is currently dealing with diverging legal opinion regarding the leave rights of surrogate parents so watch this space!

If you have any questions on any of the leave entitlements above, please get in touch.

Sarah Quirke, HR Executive


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