Cheryl Treanor, Executive, Industrial Relations and Employment Services with the CIF gives an overview of the new parental leave legislation which comes into effect from September 1st 2019.
Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019
The new Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019 will give additional leave to parents to care for their child. The new legislation extends the period of parental leave that each working parent is entitled to and increases the time frame for a parent to take the leave.
The period of parental leave that a working parent is entitled to will increase from 18 working weeks to 22 working weeks from 1st September 2019. The entitlement will increase to 26 weeks on 1st September 2020.
The time period a working parent has to take parental leave will also increase from 1st September 2019, as the qualifying age of the child will be increased from 8 years old to 12 years old.
What about parents who have already availed of the initial 18 weeks?
For parents who have already taken their 18 weeks of parental leave, they can avail of the four extra weeks from 1st September 2019 and another four weeks from 1st September 2020.
Is parental leave paid?
This type of parental leave is unpaid and there is no state benefit available to parents who take this leave. However, employers should remember that workers continue to accrue annual leave and public holiday entitlements while they are on parental leave.
What are the notice requirements?
The six weeks’ written notice requirement for a worker to give to their employer where they intend on taking parental leave remains. A confirmation agreement of the terms of the parental leave, including the commencement date of the leave, duration of the leave and the manner in which it will be taken, should be signed by the employee and the employer four weeks before the commencement of the leave.
Can an employer postpone parental leave?
An employer can still postpone parental leave in certain circumstances, such as a substantial adverse effect on the operations of the business. Postponing a worker’s request for parental leave should only occur prior to the signing of the confirmation agreement outlining the terms of the parental leave.
More entitlements to Parents on the Horizon
The new legislation, effective from 1st September 2019, is in addition to the Parental Leave and Benefit Bill 2019 that is due to come in later this year. The Bill provides for two weeks of parental leave to be given to both mothers and fathers to care for their baby before the end of the first 12 months of the child’s life.
This entitlement is due to be extended to seven weeks by 2021. This type of leave will not be transferable between parents. Employees who take this type of leave will be entitled to a state benefit.
If you require any further information in relation to the above, you can contact the Industrial Relations & Employment Services Department on 014066000.
The CIF operates a members-only source for industrial relations updates, with access permitted at www.cif.ie/member-area/irhr.
The Industrial Relations & Employment Services department has recently launched an A-Z Employment Guide for Employers, and CIF members can access this useful tool at www.cif.ie/a-z-employment-guide.