Unpaid parental leave entitlement extended from September


Parental leave changes in effect from 1st September

Last year, we brought you news of a proposal to increase employee entitlements to unpaid parental leave from 18 to 26 weeks. The draft legislation was signed into law during the summer and the first step of a two-stage extension of unpaid parental leave will come into effect on the 1st September this year.

Two major changes

The Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019 makes two major changes to the existing employee parental leave entitlements:

  • The duration of parental leave increases from the current 18 weeks to 26 weeks; and
  • Employees will be entitled to take parental leave to care for children of up to 12 years of age (up from 8 years of age).

Two-stage implementation

The new law sets out a two-stage process for the 8-week extension of unpaid parental leave. This approach is designed to make it less disruptive for employers.

Qualifying employees will be entitled to take the first 4-week extension from 1st September 2019 and the full entitlement of 26 weeks will be available from 1st September 2020.

Parental leave procedures to be updated

While working parents are likely to be grateful for further leave entitlements, the impact on employers from an administrative and workforce planning perspective is likely to be substantial.

To make sure your company complies with the new legislation, you should review family-friendly leave policies and procedures to ensure they reflect the new changes.

With paid parental leave also coming down the tracks in November, employers will need to continue to monitor their family-friendly policies in the coming months.

Record keeping

The new law also requires employers to keep records of parental leave for 12 years or until the child for whom the leave is taken reaches the age of 12, whichever is the sooner.

Need help with upcoming parental leave changes?

Got a query on the upcoming parental leave changes? Please contact the advice line on +353 1 886 0350 to speak with a consultant on this or any other HR issue affecting your organisation.


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