Leave for parents
Parents have a right to time off work to look after their children. Parents have several different types of statutory leave entitlements, for example, maternity leave, adoptive leave, paternity leave, parental leave and parent’s leave.
This table explains the differences between the types of leave for parents.
|Who gets it?
|Is it paid?
|26 weeks and up to 16 unpaid weeks
|Yes, Maternity Benefit is paid for 26 weeks
|One parent of the adoptive couple, or a parent adopting alone
|24 weeks and up to 16 unpaid weeks
|Yes, Adoptive Benefit is paid for 24 weeks
New parents of children under 6 months of age (not the parent who has taken maternity or adoptive leave)
|Yes, Paternity Benefit is paid for 2 weeks
|Parents and guardians of children under 12
|No, it’s unpaid
|Parents of children under 2 years of age
Parents of adopted children in the first 2 years of the placement of the child
It was announced in Budget 2024 that Parent’s leave will be extended by 2 weeks to 9 weeks from August 2024.
|Yes, Parent’s Benefit is paid for 7 weeks
|Leave for medical care
|Parents who need time off work to deal with serious medical care for the child.
|5 days in any 12 consecutive months
|No, it’s unpaid
If you become pregnant while in employment, you are entitled to take 26 weeks maternity leave. Employers do not have to pay you while you are on maternity leave. You may be entitled to Maternity Benefit. You are also entitled to take up to 16 weeks of additional unpaid maternity leave, which is not covered by Maternity Benefit.
One parent of the adopting couple or a parent who is adopting alone alone is entitled to 24 weeks’ 24 weeks’ adoptive leave, beginning on the day the child is placed with them. Employers do not have to pay an employee for adoptive leave. You may be entitled to Adoptive Benefit. You are also entitled to take up to 16 weeks’ additional unpaid adoptive leave, but this period is not covered by Adoptive Benefit.
New parents are entitled to 2 weeks’ paternity leave from employment or self-employment following the birth or adoption of a child. Employers do not have to pay you while you are on paternity leave. You may be eligible for Paternity Benefit.
From 1 September 2020 each parent is entitled to 26 weeks’ unpaid parental leave. You must take parental leave before the child is 12 years of age, or 16 years of age if the child has a disability. In general, you must have been working for your employer for at least 12 months to be entitled to parental leave. There is no social welfare payment available.
Parent’s leave is a statutory entitlement for parents in employment or self-employment. It aims to let working parents spend more time with their baby or adopted child during the first two years. Each parent is entitled to 7 weeks leave for:
- A child born or adopted on or after 1 July 2022
- A child who is under 2 on 1 July 2022
- An adopted child who has been placed with the family less than 2 years on 1 July 2022
You may be eligible for Parent’s Benefit.
Leave for serious medical care
You can take 5 days unpaid leave in any 12 consecutive months if you need to take time off work to deal with serious medical care for your child (or certain other people you care for).