All you need to know about Maternity Leave

Its always hard to know when the right time is to take your maternity leave. Well here are some helpful hints to help you decide, when is the best time for you..

Did you know? You and your partner can get financial support during your pregnancy and after you have your baby.

Before your baby is born, you can take paid time off work to attend antenatal classes. You can also take time off for prenatal appointments. Fathers can also take paid time off to attend your last 2 antenatal classes.

Pregnant workers can take maternity leave for a basic period of 26 weeks regardless of how long you have been working for your employer. You should tell your employer as soon as possible that you will be taking maternity leave. You should let them know in writing at least 4 weeks before the start of your maternity leave.

You need to start your maternity leave at least 2 weeks before your due date. You need to take at least 4 weeks maternity leave after the birth of your baby. You can take up to 16 weeks’ extra unpaid maternity leave. This begins after the end of maternity leave. Your employer is not obliged to pay you during this time.

Partners living with you can take paid paternity leave of 2 weeks following a birth or adoption. You can start paternity leave at any time within the first 6 months.

Paternity benefit is a payment to employed and self-employed people who are on paternity leave from work. It is paid for 2 weeks and covered by social insurance (PRSI). There are a number of conditions you need meet to get it.

When you return to work you can avail of parental leave. You will not be paid for this. Both parents are entitled to take parental leave. Breast feeding mothers can take time off work each day to breastfeed your baby for the first 6 months. You are entitled to either:

  • paid time off to breastfeed your baby in your workplace
  • reduced working hours – without losing pay, to nurse your baby outside the workplace.

Your employer decides which option is the most suitable.

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