Parent's Benefit

Introduction

Parent’s Benefit and parent’s leave are new statutory entitlements for parents in the first year after their child’s birth or adoption. They are available for children born or adopted after 1 November 2019.

Parent’s Benefit is paid while you are on parent’s leave from work if you have enough social insurance (PRSI) contributions.

You must be on parent’s leave to get Parent’s Benefit. However, it’s possible to qualify for parent’s leave and not qualify for Parent’s Benefit (for example, if you don’t meet the PRSI contribution conditions).

Each parent is entitled to Parent’s Benefit during parent’s leave. You can take 2 consecutive weeks or 2 separate weeks of leave.

Parent’s Benefit is only paid once for both single and multiple births. For example, if you have twins or adopt 2 children at the same time, you get one payment.

If you are already getting a social welfare payment, then you may get half-rate Parent’s Benefit.

Budget 2021

From April 2021, Parent’s Benefit will be extended by 3 weeks from 2 weeks to 5 weeks for parents of children born or adopted from November 2019. The period it can be taken will be extended up to your child's second birthday or within 2 years following adoption.

COVID-19 and Parent's Benefit

Time spent on the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (CPUP) and the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) will be treated as if you are continuing to make insurance contributions at your normal social insurance class. This means that if you are getting CPUP or TWSS, you may still get Parent's Benefit, if you have enough social insurance contributions.

If you are due to go on parent's leave and you are getting CPUP, you should apply for Parent's Benefit (if you have the required social insurance contributions) and then close your CPUP claim.

If you are currently on parent's leave and you are due to return to work, but your workplace is closed and you are not being paid by your employer, you can claim CPUP when your parent's leave ends.

Rules for Parent's Benefit

Parent’s Benefit is paid in the first year of the child’s birth or adoption.

You must notify your employer that you intend to take parent’s leave and of your intended dates no later than 6 weeks before your leave. You then apply for Parent’s Benefit at least 4 weeks before the date you start your parent’s leave.

If you are self-employed you should apply for Parent's Benefit 6 weeks before you intend to take parent’s leave.

You need your child’s PPS number to apply for Parent’s Benefit.

PRSI contributions for Parent's Benefit

You must have a certain number of paid PRSI contributions on your social insurance record. Your PRSI contributions can be from both employment and self-employment. You must meet the conditions when you apply.

The PRSI classes that count for Parent’s Benefit are A, B, C, D, E, H and S (self-employed).

PRSI contribution conditions for Parent’s Benefit are similar to the conditions for Maternity Benefit, Adoptive Benefit and Paternity Benefit. You must have a minimum number of weeks PRSI paid within a relevant period.

You get credited contributions or credits automatically when you are getting Parent’s Benefit.

If you are already getting a social welfare payment

Half-rate Parent's 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 Parent's Benefit.

Leave certification

You must declare that your parent’s leave dates have been approved by your employer when you apply for Parent’s Benefit. The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) may contact your employer asking them to confirm the dates.

If you are self-employed, you self-certify your leave and declare that you will not engage in any employment during your parent’s leave.

If you are applying for Parent’s Benefit for an adopted child, you need a certificate of placement for the child. If the adoption is an intercountry adoption and took place outside the State, you need a declaration of eligibility and suitability and confirmation of the day of placement or expected day of placement in writing.

If you decide not to take parent’s leave, you cannot get Parent’s Benefit. You should tell the Parent’s Benefit section of the Department about any changes to your parent’s leave arrangements.

Rates of Parent's Benefit

Parent's Benefit is paid at a standard weekly rate.

Parent's Benefit rate 2020:

Parent's Benefit Weekly rate
Standard payment €245

Payments for dependants

If you have dependants, your Parent’s Benefit rate 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 (€203 is the maximum Illness Benefit personal rate), it 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, you may get a higher rate of Parent’s Benefit.

If your adult dependant (your spouse or partner) 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.

How do I get paid?

Parent's 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.

If your employer pays you in full while you are on parent’s leave, they may require Parent’s Benefit to be paid directly into their bank account. You should check your contract of employment to see what applies to you

Parent's Benefit is taxable. Universal Social Charge and PRSI are not payable. You can read about how Parent's Benefit is taxed in our document, Taxation of social welfare payments.

How to apply for Parent's Benefit

If you are an employee you must be approved for parent’s leave before you can apply for Parent’s Benefit. You must apply to your employer for parent’s leave at least 6 weeks before you intend to start your parent’s leave. You then apply for Parent’s Benefit at least 4 weeks before you take the leave.

If you are self-employed you apply for Parent's Benefit 6 weeks before your planned leave.

Online applications

You apply for Parent's Benefit online at mywelfare.ie. You have to fill in the questions asked in the online form. You also need:

  • Your baby’s PPS number
  • Your employer’s ERN (Employer’s Registration Number) and the name and address of your employer

You must declare that your parent’s leave dates have been approved by your employer (you don’t need documentation to prove this). If you are applying for increases for dependants (spouse or partner and/or children) you need their PPS numbers and information about their income.

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 Public Services Card, 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 an e-mail 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).

Find out more about applying online for social welfare payments and services.

Postal applications

If you are unable to apply online, you can request a Parent’s Benefit application form by emailing or phoning the Parent's Benefit Section - see 'Where to apply' below.

Fill in the form and send it to the Parent’s Benefit Section of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

What happens if my baby is in hospital?

If your baby is in hospital you can postpone your parent’s leave and Parent’s Benefit or the portion of it that remains. However, you must start your parent’s leave and Parent’s Benefit within 7 days of your child’s discharge from hospital.

If you want to change your leave dates because your baby is in hospital you can do this through mywelfare.ie. If you are unable to do that or your leave is due to start within the next 10 days, you can send a letter directly to the Parent’s Benefit section (see ‘Where to apply’ below) telling them of your new leave dates.

Death of a child

If your child dies within the first year of birth or adoption, you are still entitled to take your parent’s leave and Parent’s Benefit.

How do I appeal a decision on Parent's Benefit?

If you are unhappy with a decision about your application for Parent’s Benefit, you can make an appeal to the Social Welfare Appeals Office. You should appeal within 21 days of getting the decision.

Where to apply

Parent's Benefit Section

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

McCarter's Road
Buncrana
Donegal
Ireland
F93 CH79

Tel: (01) 471 5898
Locall: 1890 690 690 (Note: the rates charged for using 1890 (Lo-call) numbers may vary)

You can email the Parent's Benefit section at parentsben@welfare.ie.

Page edited: 15 October 2020