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Maternity leave


When you take time off to have a baby, you are entitled to take maternity leave. This consists of 26 weeks of paid leave, with an option of 16 weeks’ unpaid maternity leave starting immediately after that.

Your statutory minimum entitlements for maternity at work are covered under the Maternity Protection Act 1994 and the Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act 2004.

Your maternity leave must start no later than two weeks from the Saturday at the end of the week of the due date. For example, if your due date is 23 September 2020, your maternity leave must start no later than 12 September 2020.

Time in lieu for bank holidays that occur during maternity leave will apply directly after the period of maternity leave. For employees who are worksharing, time in lieu will apply on a pro-rata basis.

When to apply

You should apply for leave eight weeks ahead of the leave starting date, and earlier than this if possible, but no earlier than your 24th week of pregnancy. You should apply for unpaid leave four weeks before the end of the paid leave period.

Maternity leave will apply in the following sequence:

1a. Additional paid maternity leave (if applicable)
1. Paid paternity leave
2. Unpaid maternity leave (optional)
3. Bank holiday time in lieu

If you started working in the Civil Service after 6 April 1995, you must supply a completed Maternity Benefit form (MB1). When completing ‘Part 3’ of the form, please tick the box indicating payment should go to your employer. The Employer’s information will be provided to DSP by the NSSO as part of completing your Maternity Leave case.

You also need to obtain a medical certificate confirming your due date stamped and signed by your doctor. This is a link to a blank medical certificate.

Completed medical certificate can be emailed to along with a declaration confirming that you have completed the online Maternity Benefit application and directed the payment of the benefit to your employer.

Premature births

If your baby is born before the due date confirmed on your medical certificate, you may be entitled to a period of additional maternity leave as well as your allowed 26 weeks of paid maternity leave.

If your baby is born prematurely, the extra period of paid leave will start at the end of the standard 26-week period. The amount of additional time you get will be the number of days from the baby’s actual date of birth up to two weeks before the end of the week in which the baby was due (as per the original medical certificate).

Claiming additional maternity leave

To claim additional leave due to a premature birth, you need to contact the Maternity Benefits Section of the Department of Social Protection (DSP) before the end of the first 26 weeks of maternity benefit to inform them of the premature birth.

Civil servants should follow the relevant DSP procedure to get confirmation of the amended maternity leave dates and additional maternity benefit.

To claim full payment for the additional period of maternity leave, civil servants must provide this confirmation letter from DSP to NSSO, HR Services.

How to apply

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.

  • Enter your self-service user ID and password.
  • Select ‘non-annual leave’, and then select maternity, paternity, or parental leave as appropriate from the drop-down menu.
  • Complete the e-form and click ‘submit’.
  • Your line manager will approve the e-form and you will get an email confirming your case ID.
  • Please note: by applying for maternity, paternity, adoptive, or parents leave you agree to repay any overpayment of salary which could arise from your application.

General queries

To make a general query about maternity leave, or to submit a question, access HR self-service here. Enter your case management user ID and password, click the ‘add a case’ button and fill out the required fields.

More information on certain cases around maternity leave, go to this page.