Family Responsibilities

Paternity Leave

Paternity leave is not provided for in Irish legislation. Employers have no obligation to provide paid or unpaid leave to new father following the birth of a child. A worker may be able to take his annual leave at the time of birth of his child but this is at the discretion of the employer to decide the timing of the leave. The employees in the civil service, however, do get paternity leave of 3 days in respect of children born or adopted on or after 1 January 2000.

The Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016 introduces a statutory paternity leave of 2 weeks together with a new Paternity Benefit. When enacted, the legislation will allow new fathers to start the combined package of paternity leave and Paternity Benefit at any time within the first 6 months following birth or adoption of a child. The provisions are applicable to births and adoptions after 01 September 2016.

Workers are entitled to return to work and to the same job with the same contract of employment. if it is not possible for the employer to allow a worker to return to his job, employer must provide the worker with suitable alternative work. This new position should not be less favourable when compared with the previous job. Law also protects workers against penalization and unfair dismissal for claiming their rights under legislation.

Source:; Paternity Leave & Benefit Act 2016

Parental Leave

After one year of continuous employment with the employer an employee who is the natural, the adoptive parent or any person acting in loco parentis with respect to an eligible child is entitled to unpaid leave of eighteen weeks each for both parents from his or her employment to take care of the child (Before 08 March 2013, the provision was only 14 weeks). Thus the total leave for both parents combined is 36 weeks. Fourteen of those 18 weeks are transferable between parents working for the same employer, provided the employer agrees. Employees returning from parental leave are entitled to request changes to their working hours or patterns. Employers who receive such requests are required to consider them, having regard to their own needs and those of the employee, but are not under obligation to grant them.

The parental leave must be taken before a child reaches the age of 08 years. If a child is adopted and his/her age is less than 06 years at the time of adoption, this leave must be taken before the child reaches 08 years of age. However, if the child is aged between 06 years and 08, this leave must be taken within 2 years of the adoption order. If a child has disability or long-term illness, the parental leave must be taken before the child reaches 16 years of age.

Under 2019 Budget, the Government has announced two weeks paid parental leave (paid by the state) for both parents while the child is still under one year. The measure will be effective from November 2019.  The government plans to raise it to 7 weeks over time. This leave is over and above maternity, adoptive, paternity and unpaid parental leave entitlements. 


(Parental Leave Act 1998, amended in 2006 § 6 - 9);; No. 81/2013 - European Union (Parental Leave) Regulations 2013)

Flexible Work Option for Parents / Work-Life Balance

There is no specific provision of flexible working time for employee with minor children however persons entitled to parental leave have the right to work part-time, provided that an agreement between the employer or representatives of the employer and other employers and the employee or representatives of the employee and other employees has been reached.

(Parental Leave Act 1998, §7)

Regulations on Family Responsibilities

  • Parental Leave Act, Act No. 30, dated 8 July 1998, last amended dated 18 May 2006