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Parent's leave

Parent’s leave is a new form of time off work so that you can care for your child during their first year. Parent's leave is different to parental leave (parental leave must end when your child reaches age 13).

The current entitlement for parent's leave is 2 weeks leave. This includes where there are multiple births or a person adopts 2 or more children at the same time.

Your child must have been born or adopted after 1st November 2019 for you to qualify for the leave.

You will not be paid your salary from the HSE while you are on parent's leave. But you can apply for parents benefit from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP)

Both parents can take parent's leave. You must be a 'relevant parent' and the leave must be taken within 12 months of the birth or adoption of your child.

Only you can take your 2 weeks entitlement. You can't pass it on to your partner or to someone else caring for your baby.

Taking parent's leave does not affect your other leave entitlements. For example, maternity, adoptive, paternity and parental leave.

Fathers can take 2 weeks paternity leave as well as 2 weeks parent's leave.

Entitlement to parent's leave - relevant parent

An employee must be a relevant parent to take parent’s leave. An employee’s entitlement is conditional on the parent’s leave being used to provide, or assist in the provision of, care to the child.

A relevant parent is one of the following:

In the case of adoption

  • the adopting mother or sole male adopter of the child
  • the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the adopting mother
  • sole male adopter of the child

Where the child is being adopted jointly:

  • each one of a married couple of the same sex
  • each one of a couple that are civil partners of each other
  • each one of a cohabiting couple of the same sex

In any other case

  • a parent of the child
  • spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the parent of the child
  • a parent of a donor-conceived child

When you can take parent's leave

If you want to use your parent's leave you must do so within 12 months of:

  • your child's birth
  • the placement with you of the child you are adopting

How the leave can be taken

You can take your leave as:

  • a continuous period of 2 weeks, or
  • 2 separate blocks of 1 week each

If you are taking maternity or adoptive leave, you must take this before parent’s leave.

Fathers can take paternity leave and parent’s leave in the order they wish.

Payment of parent’s benefit

You will not be paid your salary from the HSE while you are on parent's leave. But you may be entitled to parent's benefit if you have paid enough PRSI contributions.

Payment is made by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP)

Employees applying for parent’s benefit must declare the leave dates are approved.

DEASP may contact the employer for confirmation of the parent’s leave dates.

Fixed-term or specified purpose contracts

You can take parent's leave if you are on a fixed-term or specified purpose contract. Your contract remains the same and will end on the agreed date.

Your entitlement to parent's leave ceases when your contract of employment ends.

Parent’s leave and early confinement (childbirth)

Early confinement is 4 weeks or more before the expected date of childbirth.

The relevant parent must submit notification within 7 days of the birth.

Changing the start date of parent’s leave

You can select another date for when your parent's leave starts if:

  • your adoption date is postponed
  • you give birth later than you had previously told your manager

Postponing parent's leave

Parent’s leave may be postponed by the employee or employee in certain circumstances.

Postponement of parent’s leave by your employer

Parent’s leave may be postponed once by the HSE. This can happen where the leave would have a substantial adverse effect on the service.

This includes:

  • seasonal variations in the volume of work
  • unavailability of a person to carry out the duties of the employee taking parent’s leave
  • the nature of the employee’s duties
  • the number of employees taking parent’s leave at the same time

You must be told the reason for the postponement in advance.

You must be given written notice of postponement at least 4 weeks before the leave is due to start.

The HSE cannot postpone your leave for more than 12 weeks of the start date you've given.

A new date should be agreed between you and the HSE.

Postponement of parent’s leave when a child is hospitalised

If your child is hospitalised, you may submit a request in writing (email or letter) to postpone the leave, or part of the leave.

If the postponement is agreed:

  • you must continue to work, or return to work on an agreed date
  • the postponed leave must be taken within 7 days of your child being discharged from hospital

See HR Circular 035 2019 Parent's Leave Benefit Act 2019 (PDF, 810KB, 6 pages)

Entitlement to parent’s leave on death of child or parent

If your child dies it will not affect your entitlement to parent's leave if it's within the time frame and you qualify as a relevant parent.

If a parent dies, a surviving parent may take the transferred leave after the end of their own parent’s leave.

See HR Circular 035 2019 Parent's Leave Benefit Act 2019 (PDF, 810KB, 6 pages)

Protection of employment rights while on parent’s leave

Your employment rights are protected while you are on parent's leave. The only exception to this is your right to payment and superannuation.

You will still have the same annual leave and entitlement to public holidays.

Absences while on parent’s leave cannot be treated as part of any other leave, for example, sick leave and annual leave.

You are entitled to return to work in your normal job under the same terms and conditions.

If you are on probation

Employees on probation who take parent’s leave may have their probation suspended. The probation period will continue when you return to work.

How to apply for parent's leave

You must let your manager know at least 6 weeks before you intend to take parent's leave.

Complete the Parent's Leave application form (PDF, 200KB, 3 pages) and give it to your manager.

You will need to let your manager know:

  • the date you expect to start your parent’s leave
  • duration of the leave
  • how you wish to take the leave (2 consecutive or 2 separate weeks)

What you need to apply

Birth of a child

  • a copy of the medical certificate confirming pregnancy and expected date of birth, or
  • a copy of the birth certificate (if you are giving notice after the birth)


A copy of the placement certificate. This is used where notification is given after the day of placement.

If you adopt a child from another country you must provide a declaration of suitability. This must be provided before the day of placement. A copy of the placement certificate must be provided after the placement takes place.

Related topics

Parental leave

Shorter Working Year Scheme


National HR Employee Helpdesk

Phone: 1850 444 925


The helpdesk is open from Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm

Page last reviewed: 20/11/2020
Next review due: 20/11/2023