New Law – Increasing Parental Leave at Work

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Under new Employment Regulations which came into operation in Ireland on the 8th of March 2013, the existing Parental Leave entitlement in Ireland has been increased from 14 weeks to 18 weeks.
The current legislation allows parents, guardians and adoptive parents to take unpaid leave known as Parental Leave to care for their children. In order to qualify for Parental Leave a person must have a certain amount of continuous service with his/her employer.There are some new and welcome changes to the existing law on parental leave as a result of the new Regulations. One of these is the right to transfer parental leave to another parent in certain circumstances. Where both parents are employed by the same employer, either parent under the new Regulations, may if the employer consents, transfer all or any part of their parental leave entitlement to the other parent. The right to Transfer is limited to a period of 14 weeks.

Furthermore, it is now possible to take leave for a child with a long term illness or disability until that child reaches 16 years or the disability or long term illness ends, whichever occurs first. Under the current legislation parental leave must be taken before a child reaches 8 years old.

Finally, and very importantly, under the new regulations a parent now has the right to request a change in their working hours/patterns for a set period of time after returning from parental leave. Although an employer must consider the request by an employee, an employer is not required to automatically grant  the request. There are certain rules that must be followed in that the request for a change in working hours/working pattern must be made at least 6 weeks before the commencement of the proposed change in working hours/working pattern.

The employer must within 4 weeks of receiving the request either inform the employee in writing that the request has been refused or make an arrangement to sign an Agreement confirming the new changes. This Agreement should include the commencement date of the proposed changes and duration of the change in working arrangements.

If you have any queries in relation to Parental Leave or any other employment matter, one of our employment Solicitors would be delighted to assist you.

You can contact our employment Solicitors by telephone on 021 437444 or directly by email at and