Parental Leave ; Force Majeure Leave

This table explains the differences between the types of leave for parents.

Leave Who gets it? How long? Is it paid?
Maternity leave Female employees 26 weeks and up to 16 unpaid weeks Yes, Maternity Benefit is paid for 26 weeks
Adoptive leave 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
Paternity leave New parents of children under 6 months of age (usually the father or the partner of the mother, or in the case of adoption, the parent who is not taking adoptive leave) 2 weeks Yes, Paternity Benefit is paid for 2 weeks
Parental leave Parents and guardians of children under 12 26 weeks No, it’s unpaid
Parent’s leave Parents of children under 2 years of age

Parents of adopted children in the first 2 years of the placement of the child

5 weeks from April 2021 Yes, Parent’s Benefit is paid for 5 weeks

Parental Leave is a period of unpaid leave available to employees for the purpose of the care of children. It is provided under Parental Leave Acts 1998 and 2006 and the European Union (Parental Leave) Regulations 2013 (S.I. No. 81 of 2013).

An employee on parental leave is deemed for all purposes to be in employment at that time with the exception of remuneration and superannuation. The absence is therefore fully reckonable for all other purposes including seniority, access to the redeployment panel, progression on the incremental salary scale and notification regarding posts of responsibility.

An employee absent on parental leave may not engage in any type of paid employment as, under the terms of the Parental Leave Acts, the leave is specifically intended for the care of children.

  • An employee may be eligible for parental leave where s/he has completed one year’s continuous employment with WWETB.
  • In circumstances where, on the latest day for commencing a period of parental leave, the employee has less than one year but more than three months continuous service with WWETB, the employee will be entitled to parental leave for a period of one week for each month of continuous service completed with WWETB at the time of the commencement of the leave.
  • Parental leave will not be granted where an employee has, with a previous employer, already availed of his/her full entitlement in respect of a child.
  • A teacher who is on or due to be placed on a panel for redeployment may not apply for parental leave beyond the end of the school year in which his/her post is to be withdrawn.
  • In cases where an employee has been compulsorily redeployed into WWETB, his/her service with the previous employer will be counted for the purposes of assessing eligibility.

Duration of Leave

  • Parental Leave is unpaid leave of 26 weeks in respect of each child up to the age of 13 years or the age of 16 years in the case of a child with a disability and/or long-term illness.
  • There is no obligation to take the full 26 weeks’ leave. Each parent has a separate entitlement to parental leave from his/her job. Such leave is available to each parent who meets any of the following criteria:
    • the natural parent
    • the adoptive parent
    • the adopting parent
    • an employee acting in loco parentis to a child
  • Where an employee is acting in loco parentis it is a matter for the Human Resources Department and the Chief Executive to be satisfied that the granting of parental leave is appropriate.


Any further queries in relation to Parental Leave Entitlements, please contact: Lorraine Fox Human Resource Department 


Relating Circular  Application Form 
Parental Leave Scheme for Teachers Parental Leave Application Form
Parental Leave Scheme for SNAs Parental Leave Application Form
Parental Leave Scheme for all staff other than teachers and SNAs Parental Leave Application Form



Top of Page