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Parental leave

Application timeframes

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.

The timeline for applying for leave is 6 weeks in advance of the start date of the leave, and if possible earlier than this.

You can download an application form here.

How-to guide: parental leave for employees

How-to guide: parental leave for managers


Note: Parental leave differs from Parent’s Benefit, which is a scheme for parents who take parent’s leave from their work within the first two years of their child’s life. The payment is €265 a week, for seven weeks. This is in addition to existing maternity and paternity benefit. For more information on Parent’s Benefit, visit this page on the Department of Social Protection (DSP) website.

Any employee who is a parent is entitled to parental leave for each child born or adopted.

Parental leave provides unpaid time off work to care for a child or arrange for the child’s welfare. As of 1 September 2020, the entitlement is 130 days (26 weeks).

The Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2006 introduced the concept of “relevant parent”. A “relevant parent” is a person who is (a) the natural parent, the adoptive parent or the adopting parent in respect of the child, or (b) acting in loco parentis to the child. Thus, persons such as the long-term foster parents, or the new partner of a natural parent who is divorced or separated from the other natural parent of the child, may be entitled to parental leave where they fulfil the criterion that they are actively parenting the child on an ongoing basis.

You can take parental leave until the day the child turns 16 in all cases, including for parents of children with a disability or long-term illness and in the case of adoption.

Long-term illness, in this context, means an illness, the effect of which is that the level of care required for the child is substantially more than the level of care that is generally required for children of the same age who do not have any such long-term illness.

Circular 20/2008: - Parental Leave in the Civil Service (

Letter-to-HR-Managers-Parental-Leave-20032013.pdf (

Parental Leave in the Civil Service – Changes to Parental Leave (


To qualify, you must have at least 12 consecutive months of service before the date of your first leave request.

If your child will reach the age limit before you have reached twelve months of continuous service, you may qualify for parental leave on a pro rata basis after three months’ of continuous service. This pro rata allowance is at the rate of one weeks’ parental leave for each completed month of service up to the time you commence parental leave.

For example, if you have served six month and you wish to commence parental leave two months from now, you will at that time have served eight months’ and will be entitled to eight weeks’ parental leave. This is subject to your child not having attained sixteen years of age by the time your complete your parental leave. You may not continue on parental leave after your child’s 16th birthday.

You must apply for parental leave six weeks before the planned start date.

If you have an entitlement to parental leave as a full-time officer, you get the pro rata amount as a work-sharer.

If an adopted child is over fourteen years old but less than sixteen years old at the time of adoption, you must take the leave within two years of the date of the adoption order

Subject to approval, fourteen weeks of the twenty six weeks parental leave entitlement may be transferred from one parent to another if both parents are employed by the same employer. The Civil Service is deemed a single employer for this purpose.

If you intend to take parental leave and haven’t already submitted details of the relevant dependent, you can email a scanned copy of the birth certificate to the NSSO so that we can process your application.

Cancelling parental leave

You can only cancel parental leave if a manager raises a case for you, to confirm your cancellation has been approved.

Parental leave cannot be cancelled if it overlaps with bereavement leave.

Calculation of parental leave for work sharers

An individual working full time takes 90 days parental leave. They then change to a 50% work sharing pattern. Following a period of 14 weeks on the new work sharing pattern, they then apply for parental leave. The entitlement will be calculated as follows:

130 days entitlement minus 90 days parental leave already taken. 40 days remains, which must be reduced pro rata based on the 50% work sharing pattern. Therefore 20 days parental leave should be granted.

Similarly where an individual is work sharing on a 50% pattern they will be granted 65 days parental leave, that is, 50% of the standard 130 days entitlement.

The amount of parental leave granted will never exceed 130 days (or 26 working weeks). It must be taken before the relevant child reaches the age limit of 13 years (or 16 years in the case of a child with a disability or long term illness). Example 2 in the Annex to Circular 20/2008 is no longer applicable.

Incremental purposes

While the Parental Leave Act does not confer an entitlement to remuneration and superannuation benefits, an officer on parental leave is deemed to be in employment. The absence will therefore count as service for promotion, increment and annual leave.

Pension purposes

As parental leave is unpaid, it is not reckonable service for the purposes of the Civil Service Superannuation Scheme.

Social Welfare arrangements

Civil servants on parental leave who are covered by social insurance will be entitled to credited PRSI contributions from the Department of Social Protection. This will preserve their record for social insurance purposes. You should contact the Department of Social Protection directly to ensure the appropriate credits are made.

Twins and triplets

Parental leave is granted for each child, whether a single or multiple birth. For twins, for example, each relevant parent would be entitled to 52 weeks parental leave – 26 weeks per child. In general, parents are not entitled to avail of more than 26 weeks parental leave in a 12-month period; in the case of a multiple birth, more than 26 weeks parental leave may be availed of, subject to approval from the HR Manager.

Illness before parental leave starts

If you are ill and, as a result, cannot care for your child/children before the start of your parental leave, you may by written request to your HR Unit through your line manager, postpone the parental leave until you are no longer ill. You will be required to provide relevant evidence in line with standard sick leave requirements.

Illness during parental leave

If you are ill and, as a result, cannot care for your child/children during your parental leave, you may, by written request to your HR Unit through your line manager, suspend the balance of the parental leave until you are no longer ill. You will be required to provide relevant evidence in line with standard sick leave requirements.