Paternity Leave in Ireland

Paternity Leave in Ireland

Paternity Leave is becoming increasingly popular in Ireland. 
As much as it's great to see dads picking up the slack, it's not always clear, how the Paternity Leave works over here. We'll try to dispel some of the mysteries so daddies  can start helping with all those nappies and bottles while mummies are getting some well deserved rest.

According to, paternity leaves not only help in strengthening bonds between children and their fathers but also help to improve the overall postpartum health of mothers. After nine months of pregnancy and all its challenges, several hours of labor, and fatigue, any mother could use some help around the house.

It's important to note that unlike the mother, who acquires her caregiving instincts naturally from hormonal adjustments that happens in her brain, (primarily oxytocin)  the father needs time to get his brain to switch into being a father.
For some men it happens instantly for others it's a matter of time, both are absolutely natural and there's nothing to worry about. Give them some time and they'll get there.


The Best Time to go on your Paternity Leave?

It's up to you guys to decide when to take his paternity leave depending on when the dad is most needed. However, it has to be within the first six months of childbirth or adoption. The best time to take your leave would be during and immediately after birth. Some people might take their leave earlier. You could wait until the baby is here to increase the time you spend with the little one. Sometimes due dates come late, and you don't want to spend half of an entire leave wondering what could be wrong.

Additionally, other fathers find it wise to divide their days off from work into various moments. For instance, one may take a few days immediately after childbirth when the mum may be fatigued from labor, then take a few days after mom's maternity leave is over and they resume work, and a few when your little one is more fun and playful but still under the eligible six months.
The plan like that allows you to spend more quality time with the newborn at the most crucial times
Whether it's going to be possible to take it in parts depends entirely on your partners employer.
Note, that If your partner will apply for Paternity Benefit, it is paid for 2 weeks and the 2 weeks must be taken consecutively. 

How much Paternity Leave is Father entitled to in Ireland?

According to government sources, a father, or an eligible partner is entitled to two weeks of paternity leave. The leave has to be any time during the first six months since childbirth or child placement for adoptive parents. This applies to both self-employed and employed parents.

What about Paternity Benefit?

Your partner can get Paternity Benefit if he have formal employment and enough contributions through Pay-Related Social Insurance (PRSI).

(At least 26 weeks PRSI paid in the relevant tax year and at least 26 weeks PRSI paid in the tax year immediately before the relevant tax year or 52 weeks PRSI contributions paid at Class S in the relevant tax year.)

For example, if someone's going on paternity leave in 2021, the relevant tax year is 2019 and the year before that is 2018.

Since it's not always easy to understand how the calculation of the contributions, work, it's worth to double check with Citizens Information or the accountant at your employment.

Can an employer refuse paternity leave In Ireland?

Parental leave law has clear guidelines on who should take and is entitled to paternity leave. Your employer can reject your request to take paternity leave if you don't qualify for it.  Also, they might refuse to accept your leave request but postpone it with justifiable reasons for upto six months. In this case, they might be compelled to do so if other employees are already on leave, if work volume is higher than usual, or you don't have a parental leave cover.

Not to worry, the postponement is only allowed twice though it shouldn't go beyond six months since child placement or birth. Better still, you are entitled to parental leave, whether paid or not. Parents should, however, respect the purpose of paternity leave. Should your employer realize you are sending your paternity leave on non-child issues, they can revoke it.

Does paternity leave start during labor? What is the earliest date to start Paternity Leave?

Yes. Paternity leave starts at child labor or the due date. In case the baby is late, then it might start earlier. Most dads don't take paternity leaves until after childbirth or the actual day of adoption. Better still, if the delivery is late or the adoption process gets delayed after initiating your leave, it can get counted as dependent care or annual leave or as an emergency off. Paternity leave counts from the day the child arrives.

Do self-employed fathers get Paternity Leave?

Self-employed dads, like their employed counterparts, are entitled to a two weeks paternity leave. In Ireland, self-employed dads who contribute to PRSI can get benefits in the event of childbirth or adoption. The trick is to have things in order in your business when on leave. Be sure to plan accordingly before taking paternity leave.

Can a dad postpone Paternity Leave?

Paternity Leave can be postponed in the event when the due date extends and the baby is late or if the date of placement for adoption cases gets extended for whatever reasons. If dad or the baby are ill and hospitalised,  your  partner can request his employer to postpone part or entire leave until recovery. Be sure to provide evidence of illness or hospitalisation.

As always, we'd like to emphasise that the contents of the article is not a substitute for consultation.





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