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Career break

What it is

A career break involves special leave without pay, and employees usually take it for one of the following reasons:

  • Educational purposes (training courses with a practical training element for which there is a nominal payment/grant made to the student)
  • Travel
  • Family reasons
  • Other domestic reasons
  • Taking up a job in the private sector or becoming self-employed.

Entitlements

A career break consists of special leave without pay for a period of either:

Not less than six months and not more than five years when it is for educational purposes, travel, family reasons or other domestic reasons

Not less than six months and not more than three years when it is for taking up employment in the private sector or becoming self-employed.

When applying for a career break, you will need to advise your local HR unit of:

  • your work pattern
  • the purpose of the career break
  • the date the career break is to begin

Eligibility

You cannot take a second or third career break until you have served for a period equal to the duration of the previous career break.

You can apply to take a maximum of 3 career breaks, which when combined cannot exceed 12 years in total.

When applying for a career break for the purpose of self-employment or employment in the private sector, details of the employment must be submitted as part of the application. Career breaks can be refused if there is a potential or existing conflict of interest between the activity/employment that the civil servant is proposing to engage in and their position in the Civil Service.

Notice period

You must give a notice period when applying for a career break. Staff at Principal Officer level (or equivalent grades and above) should apply three months before the proposed start date of the career break. If you are at Assistant Principal level or equivalent grades and below, you should apply one month before the proposed start date of the career break.

How to apply

Before applying for a career break, please ensure that you read circular 4/2013 Career Break Scheme in the Civil Service.

To submit an application, you can log into HR self-service. To attach supporting documents, to view progress on an existing case, or to submit a manual application form, you can log into the case management system. Please note: only officers without HR self-service access may submit manual forms.

Step 1:

Click Apply Online, enter your Self-Service User ID and Password. Select Non-Annual Leave, select Career Break from the drop down menu. Fill out the online form.

Step 2:

Complete the following Appendices that are part of circular 4/2013.
Appendix 1 – Form of undertaking*

* Revenue staff please download and complete this form instead: Form of undertaking for Revenue staff

Step 3:

Scan and email forms to: leavemanagement@nsso.gov.ie
Or
Complete cover sheet and post all forms to: NSSO, Building 5, Belfield Office Park, Beech Hill Road, Clonskeagh, Dublin 4, D04 A9P2.

Step 4:

The NSSO will contact Local HR to sanction your request and will inform you when a decision has been made.

Extending or changing the purpose of a career break, or changing contact details

Step 1:

Complete the following Appendices that are part of Circular 4/2013, as appropriate.
Appendix 2 – application to extend a career break

Appendix 3 – application to change purpose of career break

Appendix 4 – application to change contact details while on career break

* Revenue staff please download and complete the following forms: 1) Revenue Form of Undertaking and 2) Application to extend a Career Break

Step 2:

Scan and email forms toleavemanagement@peoplepoint.ie
Or
Complete cover sheet and post all forms to: NSSO, Building 5, Belfield Office Park, Beech Hill Road, Clonskeagh, Dublin 4, D04 A9P2.

Step 3:

After receiving your career break forms, the NSSO will raise a new case for you. It will contact Local HR to sanction your request and will inform you when a decision has been made.