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Paternity leave

Paternity leave can be taken by eligible parents to care for a child following birth or adoption.

Length of paternity leave

You can take 2 weeks paternity leave. You must take the leave in the first 6 months following the birth of the child. If you adopt a child you must take the paternity leave in the first 6 months.

Parents who are eligible for paternity leave

Relevant parents

Only one person who is a relevant parent of a child is entitled to paternity leave.

Relevant parents are :

  • the father of the child
  • the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the mother of the child (regardless of gender)
  • a parent of a donor-conceived child

In the case of a child who is adopted the leave applies to:

  • a person (other than the mother of the child) who is the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the adopting mother or sole male adopter of the child
  • where the child is adopted by a married couple of the same sex, the spouse chosen by that couple to be the relevant parent

Payment while on paternity leave

You may be eligible for paternity benefit while on paternity leave. This is paid by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP).

Paternity benefit is paid at the same rate as maternity benefit. It is based on the same PRSI contribution requirements.

If you're applying for paternity benefit, you must have your paternity leave certified by your line manager.

You must submit the PB2: Employer Certificate (PDF, 307KB, 3 pages) to your line manager.

As a HSE employee, you are entitled to your basic salary plus normal fixed allowances. We will deduct the amount of benefit that you are eligible to claim from the DEASP from this.

Your HSE paternity leave payment will not include additional payment for:

  • night work
  • overtime
  • shift work
  • working unsociable hours
  • on-call allowances

Get more information on paternity benefits on the paternity benefit section of the DEASP website

Starting your paternity leave

You can decide when you want to start your paternity leave. You will need to tell your line manager the dates you are taking your leave.

You can't begin your paternity leave before the due date of the mother or the day of placement for adoption.

Your paternity leave must begin within the first 6 months after the due date or adoption placement.

Postponing your paternity leave

You can postpone your leave if:

  • the due date or the date of adoption placement has changed
  • you become sick before your paternity leave starts
  • your child is hospitalised

Fixed-term and specified purpose contracts

If you are on a fixed-term or specified purpose contract, the paternity leave entitlement will end when the contract is finished.

Employment protection

While you are on paternity leave you are in the employment of the HSE and treated as if you haven't been absent. Paternity leave will not affect any rights of your employment.

Returning to work

You are entitled to return to work at the end of your paternity leave to the same job. The date specified on the application form may have changed due to postponement.

How to apply for paternity leave

You need to let your line manager know in writing of your intention to take paternity leave. You should do this as soon as you can and no later than 4 weeks before the expected due date of the expectant mother.

In the case of a child who is to be adopted you need to let your line manager know in writing of your intention to take paternity leave. You need to do this as soon as possible but not later than 4 weeks before the expected day of placement.

You will need to fill out the paternity leave application form (PDF, 106KB, 2 pages) and submit it to your line manager.

Related document

Paternity leave circular 003/2017 (PDF, 95KB, 2 pages)

National HR Employee Helpdesk

Phone: 1800 444 925

Email: ask.hr@hse.ie

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