Paternity leave

The Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016 entitles new parents (other than the mother of a child) to two weeks’ paternity leave following the birth or adoption of a child born or adopted after 1st September 2016. You can start paternity leave at any time within the first six months following the birth or adoption placement. The facility applies to the father of a child; the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the mother of a child; or the parent of a donor-conceived child. In the case of adoptions, the facility applies to the nominated parent in the case of a married same-sex couple or the spouse, civil partner or co­habitant of the adopting mother or sole male adopter.

All employees (including casual workers) are covered regardless of how long they have worked for their employer, or the number of hours they work each week. Employers are not obliged to pay staff who are on paternity leave, although many public servants get two weeks’ paid paternity leave. If you don’t get paid leave, you may qualify for paternity benefit from the Department of Social Protection if you have sufficient PRSI contributions.

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