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Carer's leave

Carer's leave allows you to leavework temporarily to provide full-time care for someone who needs it. You can take carer's leave for a minimum of 13 weeks and up to a maximum of 104 weeks.

You may be eligible for carer's leave from work for up to 104 weeks if you need to give full-time care to a person.

You need to have 12 months continuous service with the HSE.

Pay while on carer's leave

Carer's leave is unpaid but you may qualify for a weekly payment from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Working while on carer's leave

You can work for up to 18.5 hours per week and earn up to €332.50 take-home pay (your pay after deductions).

Instead of working, you can go on a training course or take up voluntary or community work for up to 18.5 hours per week.

You must make sure that the person you are caring for has adequate care while you are working.

If you work for up to 18.5 hours per week while on carer’s leave, your annual leave and public holiday entitlement is calculated based on your reduced working hours. You are entitled to annual leave and public holidays for the first 13 weeks of carer’s leave.

Ways you can take carer’s leave

Carer’s leave can be taken as:

  • 1 continuous period of 104 weeks, or
  • 1 or more periods of leave, the total of which is not more than 104 weeks

Conditions apply if you take carer’s leave over a number of broken periods.

These include:

  • a minimum statutory entitlement that may be taken in one period is 13 weeks
  • there must be a gap of at least 6 weeks between periods of carer’s leave
  • other arrangements, more favourable to you, as agreed between you and your manager

You must tell your manager where there's a change of circumstances that affects your entitlement to carer’s leave.

Protection of employment rights

Your employment rights are protected during carer's leave. The only exception to this is your right to pay and superannuation.

You will continue to build up annual leave and public holiday entitlements for the first 13 weeks of the leave only.

Periods of probation, training or apprenticeship may be suspended.

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

How to apply for carers leave

You must apply in writing (by email or letter) to your manager at least 6 weeks before you plan to take carer's leave. In exceptional or emergency situations where you cannot give 6 weeks’ notice, you should give notice as soon as possible.

In your letter you must state:

  • you wish to take carer’s leave under the Carer’s Leave Act 2001
  • the date you want to start the carer’s leave
  • the way in which you intend to take this leave (in one block or in a series of shorter blocks)
  • decision of the deciding officer (or appeals officer) from the DSP, confirming the relevant person is medically-certified as needing fulltime care (copy confirmation required)

At least 2 weeks before your carer’s leave is due to start, you and your employer must sign the confirmation document which is part of Carers leave application form HR108c (PDF, 77.6KB, 5 pages)

If you decide you no longer wish to take your carer’s leave you must let your manager know in writing (by email or letter). This should be done before the start date shown on your confirmation document.

Terminating your carer’s leave

Carer’s leave can be terminated in a number of ways.

These include:

  • on reaching the date specified in your confirmation document
  • on a date agreed between you and your manager
  • where the person being cared for no longer needs full-time care
  • if you no longer satisfy the requirements for the provision of full-time care
  • where the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection makes a decision against you having carer’s leave

Where the relevant person dies during a period of carer’s leave, you should return to work:

  • 6 weeks after the death, or
  • on the date showing on your confirmation document (whichever is earlier)

Returning to work

You must let your manager know at least 4 weeks before you intend to return to work.

You are entitled to return to the same job you were doing before you went on carer’s leave. Your terms and conditions of employment remain the same.

You will be offered a suitable alternative job where it is not reasonably practicable for your manager to allow you to return to the same job. This will be under a new contract of employment. The terms of this contract will not be less favourable to you.

Related document

Carers leave application form HR108c (PDF, 77.6KB, 5 pages)

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