Other types of leave from work

Taking time off work

There are different reasons you might need time off work, for example:

  • If you have a family crisis, like a sudden illness in your family
  • If you are called for jury service
  • If you want to take study leave or a career break

In some cases, you are entitled to be paid for your leave, but in others you are not.

You may also want to read about types of statutory leave from work, including:

Force majeure leave

If you have a family crisis, you have a right to limited time off work. This is called force majeure leave.

You may need to take force majeure leave for an urgent family reason, such as the unexpected injury or illness of a ‘close family member’.

A close family member includes:

  • Your child (including an adopted child)
  • Your spouse or partner
  • Your parent or grandparent
  • Your sibling
  • Someone who you have a duty of care for (for example, you are acting in place of a parent, also known as loco parentis)
  • Someone who depends on you for care (known as ‘domestic dependency’)
  • Other people as defined by law

If a close family member has died, you do not have an entitlement to force majeure leave. Instead, you may be able to take ‘compassionate leave’ – read more about compassionate leave below.

Taking force majeure leave

You can take force majeure leave of one or more days up to a maximum of:

  • 3 days in 12 consecutive months, or
  • A total of 5 days in 36 consecutive months (3 years)

Depending on your employer and your contract of employment, you may be able to take more than this.

You get paid while you are on force majeure leave. If your employer allows you to take additional force majeure leave, you should check if it is paid.

You cannot be unfairly dismissed for taking force majeure leave, or for asking to take it.

Your rights to force majeure leave are set out in the Parental Leave Acts 1998 and 2019.

How to apply for force majeure leave

You must tell your employer as soon as possible that you need to take force majeure leave.

As soon as you return to work, you must make your application in writing to your employer.

Your written application should include:

  • Your name
  • PPS number
  • Employer’s name and address
  • Date(s) you took force majeure leave and the reasons why
  • Your relationship to the person who was injured or ill

Your employer may have a specific ‘force majeure form’ that they want you to complete.

Your contract may also require you to provide a medical certificate as proof of the sudden illness or injury (you can request this from the doctor).

Leave for 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 (including an adopted child)
  • Spouse or civil partner
  • Cohabitant
  • Parent or grandparent
  • Brother or sister
  • Housemate (any other person to those listed above who lives in the same house as you)

You don’t need any minimum service with your employer and you don’t have to give them notice to take the leave in emergency circumstances.

Compassionate leave

If a close family member dies, you may be able to take compassionate leave. This depends on:

  • Your employment contract
  • The custom and practice in your workplace
  • Your employer's discretion

You should check with your employer about what you are entitled to.

Jury service

If you are called for jury service, generally you must attend.

You should get paid as usual when called for jury service.

It should not affect any other employment rights. For example, any time you spend on jury service does not affect your annual leave.

Career break or study leave

You don’t have an automatic right to take unpaid leave for a career break or study leave. Check your contract, as some employers allow this.

If your contract does not cover career breaks or study leave, you may be able to negotiate it with your employer.

Your employer should consider any request for a career break or study leave on an individual, case-by-case basis.

Get more information about taking unpaid leave from the Workplace Relations Commission’s Information and Customer Service.

How to make a complaint

If you and your employer disagree about leave (for example, there is a dispute about your entitlement to force majeure leave), you can make a formal complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

You must use the online complaint form. All complaints must be made within 6 months of the dispute happening.

The time limit may be extended for a further 6 months if you can show there was a ‘reasonable cause’ for the delay.

Read more about how to make a complaint, including details of the WRC adjudication process.

More information

Get more information on the types of leave from work from the Workplace Relations Commission's Information and Customer Service.

Workplace Relations Commission - Information and Customer Service

O'Brien Road
R93 E920

Opening Hours: Mon. to Fri. 9.30am to 1pm, 2pm to 5pm
Tel: (059) 917 8990
Locall: 0818 80 80 90
Page edited: 19 March 2024