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Unpaid Maternity Leave


Statutory Additional Unpaid Maternity Leave
Commencing on the day immediately following completion of maternity leave (26 weeks), a teacher has the option to take a maximum of 16 consecutive weeks statutory additional unpaid maternity leave. If a teacher intends to avail of this option, they should make such application at least 6 weeks prior to the commencement of such leave, to facilitate salary adjustment.

The statutory entitlement to unpaid maternity/adoptive leave is 16 weeks unpaid leave. Teachers applying for unpaid maternity/adoptive leave must take their unpaid maternity/adoptive leave immediately following the paid maternity/adoptive leave period. ie. Unpaid maternity leave must begin directly after the 26 weeks paid maternity leave.

Non Statutory Additional Unpaid Maternity Leave to the End of the School Year

There is a second option available to teachers which is extended unpaid maternity/adoptive leave until the end of the school year, ie 31 August. Teachers need to notify their board of management six weeks before the end of their paid leave of their intention to take unpaid maternity/adoptive leave.

In the case of both maternity and adoptive leave, teachers applying to take a period of unpaid maternity/adoptive leave will benefit from an  entitlement of up to 16 weeks. Teachers have the option of availing of extended unpaid maternity/adoptive leave until the end of the school year. (Unpaid maternity/adoptive leave to the end of the school year is at the discretion of the board of management)

  • A teacher who, on completion of maternity leave (26 weeks), statutory additional unpaid maternity leave (16 weeks), as appropriate, may apply for 'non-statutory additional unpaid maternity leave to the end of the school year'. For non-VEC schools, this leave is to be entered on OLCS under the Family Leave sub category with the shorter title of 'Extended Unpaid Maternity Leave'. The longer title has been used for the purpose of greater clarity in this circular.
  • In the context of this leave the 'end of the school year' is taken to mean August 31st. For example, if all the other leave types referred to above were to expire by May 4th, and the teacher in question wished to remain out of school for the rest of the school year, rather than return for a short period, then the non-statutory additional unpaid leave must continue until August 31st inclusive.
  • This leave type is not a statutory entitlement and it is subject to obtaining written sanction from the Managerial Authority of the school. The Employer should be notified at least six weeks in advance of an intention to avail of this leave.

See DES Circular 09/2013.

PRSI Credits for Unpaid Maternity Leave

  • A PRSI employment contribution credit is given by the Department of Social Protection for each week of additional unpaid statutory maternity leave up to a maximum of 16 weeks. The Department of Social and Family Affairs state that the additional unpaid statutory leave must follow directly after paid statutory maternity leave.
  • In addition, the existing provision to take non-statutory unpaid maternity leave until the end of the school year will continue for teachers. In respect of adoptive leave the same arrangements which apply in the case of maternity leave will apply.
  • Section 4.2 of DES Circular 11/2011 states: A teacher who avails of statutory additional unpaid maternity leave may be entitled to receive ‘PRSI credits’ – please complete the ‘APPLICATION FOR MATERNITY LEAVE CREDITS’ which is available in the DSP booklet SW11 and request your employer to complete the employer’s section. The Form should then be returned to DSP at Maternity Benefit Section, Department of Social Protection, Inner Relief Road, Ardarvan, Buncrana, Co Donegal.


SW11 Application Form (pdf, 57 kb)

Application for Maternity Leave Credits.

A teacher must complete the SW11 Form following the statutory unpaid leave of up to 16 weeks. The form must be sent to the DSP for PRSI credits.



Last updated: May 2015