Paternity Benefit

Introduction

Paternity Benefit is a payment for employed and self-employed people who are on paternity leave from work and covered by social insurance (PRSI). It is paid for 2 weeks and is available for any child born or adopted on or after 1 September 2016. You can start paternity leave at any time within the first 6 months following the birth or adoption placement.

You should apply for the payment 4 weeks before you intend to go on paternity leave (12 weeks if you are self-employed).

If you are already on certain social welfare payments, then you may get half-rate Paternity Benefit.

You can read detailed Frequently Asked Questions about Paternity Benefit on the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection's website.

Budget 2018: the weekly rate of Paternity Benefit will increase by €5, with proportional increases for qualified adults. In addition, the weekly rate for a qualified child will increase by €2 from €29.80 to €31.80. These increases will take effect from the week beginning 26 March 2018.

Appeals

You have the right to appeal the decision made on your Paternity Benefit claim. You can get detailed information about making an appeal from the Social Welfare Appeals Office.

Rules

You must notify your employer that you intend to take paternity leave and of your intended dates no later than 4 weeks before your leave. You must provide proof of the expected date of birth of your child. Generally, you will need to provide a certificate from your spouse or partner's doctor confirming when your baby is due, or, confirmation of the actual date of birth if you are applying for leave after the birth.

You should apply for Paternity Benefit at least 4 weeks before the date you intend to start your paternity leave. If you are self-employed you should apply 12 weeks before. You must register for a Public Services Card (if you don't already have one) and register with the mywelfare.ie service (see 'How to apply' below for details of how to do this).

You must also satisfy the PRSI contribution conditions.

PRSI contribution conditions

Paternity Benefit is paid by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to people who have a certain number of paid PRSI contributions on their social insurance record. The PRSI contributions can be from both employment and self-employment. The PRSI classes that count for Paternity Benefit are A, E, H and S (self-employed). Members of the Defence Forces who pay PRSI at Class H are insured for Paternity Benefit but it is not payable while they are in service.

If you are an employee you must have:

  • At least 39 weeks PRSI paid in the 12-month period before the first day of your paternity leave.

Or

  • At least 39 weeks PRSI paid since first starting work and at least 39 weeks PRSI paid or credited in the relevant tax year or in the tax year immediately following the relevant tax year. For example, if you are going on paternity leave in 2017, the relevant tax year is 2015 and the year following that is 2016.

Or

  • At least 26 weeks PRSI paid in the relevant tax year and at least 26 weeks PRSI paid in the tax year immediately before the relevant tax year. For example, if you are going on paternity leave in 2017, the relevant tax year is 2015 and the year before that is 2014.

If you do not meet these PRSI conditions and you were self-employed before starting work as an employee, you can use your Class S contributions to qualify for Paternity Benefit - see PRSI conditions for self-employed people below.

You are awarded credited contributions or credits automatically when you are getting Paternity Benefit. Credits are awarded at the same rate as your last paid contribution. These credits help protect your future entitlement to social welfare benefits and pensions.

If you were previously insurably employed in a country covered by EU Regulations, you may combine your insurance record in that country with your Irish PRSI contributions to help you qualify for Paternity Benefit in Ireland. You must be currently in insurable employment in Ireland and have paid your most recent PRSI contribution in Ireland. More information is available in our document about combining your social insurance contributions from abroad.

If you are self-employed you must be in insurable employment and have:

  • 52 weeks PRSI contributions paid at Class S in the relevant tax year. For example, if you are going on paternity leave in 2017, the relevant tax year is 2015.

Or

  • 52 weeks PRSI contributions paid at Class S in the tax year immediately before the relevant tax year. For example, if you are going on paternity leave in 2017, the tax year immediately before the relevant tax year is 2014.

Or

  • 52 weeks PRSI contributions paid at Class S in the tax year immediately following the relevant tax year. For example, if you are going on paternity leave in 2017, the tax year immediately following the relevant tax year is 2016.

If you do not meet these PRSI conditions and you were in insurable employment before becoming self-employed, you can use your PRSI contributions (Class A, E and H) in that employment to qualify for Paternity Benefit – see PRSI conditions for employed people above.

If you are in insurable self-employment, you are not awarded credited contributions or credits automatically when you are getting Paternity Benefit. A self-employed person is not specifically excluded from employment credits. You may qualify for credits if you meet the conditions. For example, an applicant for Paternity Benefit who is now self-employed but had been employed in 2015 would qualify for credits. If they have been only self-employed, without being employed, for the last 3 years they won’t qualify for credits.

If you are already getting a social welfare payment

Half-rate Paternity Benefit may be payable if you are getting any one of the following payments:

If you are providing full-time care to another person, you may qualify for half-rate Carer's Allowance with your Paternity Benefit.

Leave certification

All employees must have their paternity leave certified by their employer. If you are self-employed you self-certify your leave.

If you're an employee, you must provide your employer with proof of the expected date of confinement of your spouse or partner. In other words, you will be required to provide your employer with a certificate from your spouse or partner's doctor confirming when your baby is due, or confirmation of the baby’s actual date of birth if you apply for leave after the birth has occurred. Your employer must then complete a form PB2: Employer Certificate for Paternity Benefit (pdf) to confirm that you are entitled to paternity leave.

If you're self-employed, a doctor must complete a form PB3: Medical Certificate for Paternity Benefit (pdf) to certify the expected due date of your baby (or the baby's date of birth). This is to confirm that you are entitled to paternity leave.

In the case of adoption, you must produce a certificate of placement in relation to the child.

In the case of an intercountry adoption that took place outside the State,you must produce a declaration of eligibility and suitability in relation to the child and particulars in writing of the day of placement or expected day of placement.

If, at any stage you decide not to take your paternity leave, you cannot be paid Paternity Benefit. You should inform the Paternity Benefit section of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection of any changes to your paternity leave arrangements.

Duration of Paternity Benefit

Paternity Benefit is paid for 2 weeks and the 2 weeks must be taken consecutively.

Rates

From 13 March 2017: Paternity Benefit is €235 per week.

Payments for dependants

If you have dependants, your rate of Paternity Benefit (excluding increases for dependants) is compared to the rate of Illness Benefit (including increases for dependants) that would be paid to you if you were absent from work through illness. The higher of the 2 rates is paid to you.

Although the Illness Benefit rate begins from a lower personal base amount (€193 is the maximum Illness Benefit personal rate), it also takes into account extra payments for your family. This is why, depending on the circumstances of your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant and how many children you have, the rate paid to you may be greater than the rate you would otherwise be entitled to.

Example (March 2017 rates): John is entitled to the standard Paternity Benefit rate of €235. His partner is unemployed and signing on for unemployment credits. They have 2 children. If he got Illness Benefit he would get €380.70 (this is the personal rate of Illness Benefit + an Increase for a Qualified Adult + Increases for 2 Qualified Children). He cannot get less Paternity Benefit than he would get if ill and getting Illness Benefit. For this reason, he will get Paternity Benefit of €380.70.

If your adult dependant is getting a social welfare payment you will not get an Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA) but you may get a half-rate Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC).

You will qualify for a full-rate IQA and a full-rate IQC, if your adult dependant is unemployed and signing on for credits or is earning under €100.01 per week.

If your adult dependant is earning between €100.01 and €310 per week you will get a tapered rate of IQA and a full-rate IQC. If your adult dependant is earning between €310.01 and €400 per week you will not get an IQA but you will get half rate IQC. If your adult dependant earns over €400 per week you will not get an IQA or IQC.

Payment abroad

EU and non-EU citizens can holiday abroad and get Paternity Benefit for a maximum of 2 weeks while away.

To get Paternity Benefit while abroad, you need to inform Paternity Benefit Section of your intended absence either by email at: paternityben@welfare.ie or by calling 01 471 58 98 or Lo-call: 1890 690 690.

How the payment is made

Paternity Benefit is paid directly into your bank or building society account (a current or deposit account, not a mortgage account) or you can choose to have it paid directly into your employer's bank account.

Note: Some employers will continue to pay an employee, in full, while the employee is on paternity leave. In such cases the employer will generally require the employee to have any Paternity Benefit paid to them. You should check your contract of employment to see what applies to you.

Taxation of Paternity Benefit

Paternity Benefit is taxable for all claimants. Universal Social Charge and PRSI are not payable. You can read about how Paternity Benefit is taxed in the document, Taxation of social welfare payments.

How to apply

You should apply for Paternity Benefit 4 weeks before you intend to go on paternity leave (12 weeks if you are self-employed).

The Paternity Benefit application form can be requested from the Paternity Benefit Section by using the secure enquiry form (see 'Where to apply' below).

Employees: Your employer must certify that you are entitled to paternity leave using form PB2: Employer Certificate for Paternity Benefit (pdf). You will also need to complete the Paternity Benefit application form.

Self-employed people: If you are self-employed, a doctor must certify the due date of your baby (or the baby’s actual date of birth). This is required to confirm that you are entitled to paternity leave. This is form PB3: Medical Certificate for Paternity Benefit (pdf). Then you will also need to complete the Paternity Benefit application form.

Online application

You can apply for Paternity Benefit online at mywelfare.ie. You upload your application form and supporting documentation (form PB2 for employees and form PB3 if you're self-employed) and submit them online.

You must have a Public Services Card (linked to your mobile phone number) and a verified MyGovID account to apply online. To find out if your mobile phone number is linked to your PSC, contact your local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office. If you do not already have a Public Services Card, you can make an appointment to get one at mywelfare.ie. You will first need to register with the site. To do this you need a mobile phone number and 2 e-mail addresses (a main address and an alternate address). When you have made your appointment, print the notification and bring it to your appointment along with the required documents (listed in the notification).

Postal application

Postal applications can be sent to the Paternity Benefit Section of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. Application forms are also available by post at the address listed below.

Where to apply

Paternity Benefit Section

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
McCarter's Road
Buncrana
Donegal
Ireland
F93 CH79

Tel: (01) 471 5898 (If calling from outside the Republic of Ireland please call +353 1 471 5898)
Locall: 1890 690 690 (Note: the rates charged for using 1890 (Lo-call) numbers may vary)
Homepage: http://www.welfare.ie

You can email the Paternity Benefit section using the secure enquiry form.

Further information

Premature births

If your baby is born prematurely (before your Paternity Leave and Paternity Benefit is due to begin) and you wish to change your leave dates, you should send a letter from your employer confirming the new leave dates and the date of birth of your child to the Paternity Benefit section of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. If you are self-employed you must send a letter to the Paternity Benefit section stating your new leave dates and a letter from a doctor or the hospital confirming the date of birth of your child.

Stillbirths and miscarriages

If there is a stillbirth or miscarriage any time after the 24th week of pregnancy (i.e. from the beginning of the 25th week) and you are entitled to paternity leave, you are entitled to 2 weeks Paternity Benefit provided you satisfy the social insurance (PRSI) requirements.

To apply for Paternity Benefit following a stillbirth, you need to send a letter from your doctor with the Paternity Benefit application form, confirming the expected date of birth, the actual date of birth and the number of weeks of pregnancy.

The leave must still be certified by your employer or self-certified if you are self-employed.

Hospitalisation of baby

If your baby is in hospital you can postpone your paternity leave and Paternity Benefit or whatever portion of it remains for a maximum of 6 months. If you are an employee and you wish to change your leave dates because of the hospitalisation of your baby, you should send a letter from your employer confirming the new leave dates to the Paternity Benefit section of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. If you are self-employed and you wish to change your leave dates because of the hospitalisation of your baby, you must send a letter to the Paternity Benefit section stating your new leave dates and a letter from a doctor or the hospital confirming the date of birth of your child.

Page edited: 31 October 2017