Working Mothers in Ireland

Does the Law have provisions on maternity leave? Yes
What is the duration of maternity leave? 42.0 weeks
What percentage of the monthly salary does a worker get during maternity leave? Flat rate
Who pays for maternity leave? Government
Does the law require that workers be protected from dismissals during the term of pregnancy and maternity leave? Yes
Does the law provide for the right to return to same position after availing maternity leave? Yes
Does the law require that pregnant and nursing workers must not be engaged in harmful work? Yes
Does the law require that pregnant workers be provided free ante and post natal medical care? Yes
Does the law provide for breastfeeding breaks for nursing mothers? Yes
What is the duration of breastfeeding breaks, as provided by the law? One hour
What is the length of breastfeeding breaks? Breastfeeding breaks are provided for the first 6 month(s) of life of the child
Does the law require parental leave for parents? Yes
Does the law provide for paid or unpaid parental leave? Unpaid
What is the total duration of parental leave? 252
What is the wage replacement rate for parental leave? No provision
Does the law require that parents with minor children or workers with other family responsibilities be provided with flexible time or part time work options? No

To comply with international standards, maternity leave duration should be at least 14 weeks and during maternity leave workers should be paid at least 67% of their wage.

More about maternity leave:

Female employees are entitled to a paid maternity leave of 26 consecutive weeks plus 16 weeks unpaid maternity leave after confinement. Maternity leave may in general commence or end on any day selected by the female employee but two weeks before and four weeks after the end of the expected week of confinement is compulsory. The maximum pre-natal leave is 16 weeks. If the child is born later than expected, postnatal leave may be extended by the necessary number of consecutive weeks, up to a maximum of four weeks. To avail the maternity leave, the worker has to inform the employer in writing of her intention to take leave, and produce a medical certificate or "other appropriate certificate" confirming the pregnancy and indicating the expected week of confinement. If a worker has stillbirth or miscarriage any time after the 24th week of pregnancy, she is entitled to full maternity leave (paid 26 weeks + unpaid 16 weeks).

(Maternity Protection Act 1994, amended in 2004 §8 - 16)

Rate of maternity benefit for claims starting before 6 January 2014

All women who are entitled to maternity leave, including women who are in self-employment are eligible for 80 percent of the average amount of weekly earnings, or a fixed weekly amount, or the amount of disability benefits which the woman would otherwise receive if she was entitled to the said benefit, whichever is the greater. Maternity benefits amount at least to €207.80, up to a maximum of €280.00 per week (80% of reckonable earnings of up to €350). The right to cash benefits is subject to a medical certificate stating the expected week of birth and an employer’s certificate stating that the female employee is entitled to maternity leave. Furthermore, the employee or self-employed must have paid social insurance contributions of a specified amount.

Rate of maternity benefit for claims starting on or after 6 January 2014

For new maternity benefit claims on or after 06 January 2014, a standard rate of €230 per week is paid. This means an increase of €12.20 for those receiving less than €230 per week and a reduction of €32 per week for those receiving higher payments.

(Social Welfare Consolidation Act §6(1), 47-49; )

More about parental leave:

After one year of continuous employment with the employer an employee who is the natural, the adoptive parent or any person acting in loco parentis with respect to an eligible child is entitled to unpaid leave of eighteen weeks each for both parents from his or her employment to take care of the child (Before 08 March 2013, the provision was only 14 weeks). Thus the total leave for both parents combined is 36 weeks. Fourteen of those 18 weeks are transferable between parents working for the same employer, provided the employer agrees. Employees returning from parental leave are entitled to request changes to their working hours or patterns. Employers who receive such requests are required to consider them, having regard to their own needs and those of the employee, but are not under obligation to grant them.
The parental leave must be taken before a child reaches the age of 08 years. If a child is adopted and his/her age is less than 06 years at the time of adoption, this leave must be taken before the child reaches 08 years of age. However, if the child is aged between 06 years and 08, this leave must be taken within 2 years of the adoption order. If a child has disability or long term illness, the parental leave must be taken before the child reaches 16 years of age.

(Parental Leave Act 1998, amended in 2006 § 6 - 9);; No. 81/2013 - European Union (Parental Leave) Regulations 2013)