Working Time Protected Leave, more commonly referred to as Protective Leave, encompasses certain categories of statutorily protective leave for employees in Ireland. Employees on protective leave are entitled to be treated as though they are not absent from work, and the employee’s absence while on protective leave should have no impact on their rights or entitlements with respect to their employment. Below, we have outlined five common reasons for taking protective leave in Ireland, as well the conditions that must be met by employees in order to be eligible.
Health and Safety Leave If an employee is pregnant, their employer has a duty of care to carry out a risk assessment of the workplace. If an employer finds that a risk exists, the pregnant employee must be moved from their current working location to one that is safe for them to effectively carry out their duties while at work. However, in the case where this is not possible and/or if the potential risk cannot be reduced, the pregnant employee is entitled to health and safety Leave, of which 21 days will be paid by the employer with health and safety benefit payable thereafter. Those who have given birth within the previous 14 weeks are also entitled to health and safety leave from work.
Parental Leave As of December 1st, 2020, both parents of a child are 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 current employer for at least 12 months in order to be entitled to parental leave.
As opposed to Parental Leave, which entitles both parents of a newborn child to 26 weeks’ leave from work, Parent’s Leave enables each parent to 7 weeks’ leave during the first two years of their child’s life. Provided you have enough social insurance (PRSI) contributions, you may be entitled to parent’s benefit, which is paid at €250 each week while you are on leave.
Adoptive Leave Adoptive leave entitles one parent of the adopting couple, or a parent who is adopting alone, to 24 weeks’ leave off work, and begins from the date the child is placed in their care. Prior to taking adoptive leave, you must notify you employer in writing four weeks in advance. Unless it is otherwise stated in the contract of employment, an employer has no legal obligation to pay an employee during adoptive leave.
Carer’s Leave Under the terms of the Carers Leave Act 2001, an employee is entitled to take temporary unpaid leave from work to provide full-time care for a person who needs such care as determined by the Department of Social Protection. The minimum statutory entitlement for carer’s leave is 13 weeks, and the maximum is 104 weeks. In order to qualify for carer’s leave, an employee must have 12 months of continuous service with their current employer. The employer must also be given 6 weeks’ notice in writing prior to the commencement of carer’s leave.
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