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Parental Leave

Chapter 7 (pdf, 601 kb)

Please note, the circulars referenced in this section have been superseded by Chapter Seven of the DES publication Terms and Conditions for Registered Teachers in Recognised Primary and Post Primary schools (Edition 2)

July 2017

Parental Leave (pdf, 308 kb)
DES Application Form
Teidlíochtaí Saoirse do Thuismitheoirí (pdf, 422 kb)


Circular 0026/2013 Extends Parental Leave Entitlement

Circular 0026/2013 has been issued by the Department of Education and Skills, which increases teachers' parental leave entitlement by four weeks.

The new circular reflects the statutory entitlement to up to 18 weeks of unpaid parental leave per child. The circular also relaxes previous restrictions on the combination periods in which parental leave may be taken. 

  • A teacher may avail of parental leave in blocks of at least 1 week up to a maximum of 18 weeks.
  • Parental leave must be taken before the child is 13 years old or 16 years old in the case of a child with a disability or long-term illness.
  • Application for parental leave should be made at least 6 weeks in advance of commencement of the leave.

Full information and the appropriate application forms are available in Circular 0026/2013.


An amendment to to parental leave entitlements (Circular 21/2012) outlines an increase in age eligibility from eight years to thirteen years.

The maximum age of the child in respect of whom teachers may take parental leave is increased from eight to thirteen years. In the case of an adopted child, where the child is eleven years or more but less than thirteen, the parental leave must be taken within two years of the adoption order. In the case of a child with a disability, the age limit of sixteen years will still apply.

These amendments came into effect from 11 June 2012.

You must have worked for a period of one continuous year with the same board of management before you can claim full entitlement of parental leave. However, if you have been compulsorily redeployed and providing you have worked continuously for at least one full year in your former school before being redeployed, your entitlement is unaffected.

If you have less than on year but more than three months' continuous service with a board of management, you are entitled to parental leave for a period of one week for each month of this service completed at the time of the commencement of the leave.

Amount of Entitlement due

Each parent is entitled to take parental leave for a maximum period of 18 weeks in respect of each eligible child.

Subject to approval by of the employer, fourteen weeks out of eighteen weeks parental leave can be transferred to the other parent of the relevant child, where both parents share an employer.

The maximum parental leave allowed in a given twelve month period is eighteen weeks, even if you have more than one eligible child. However, this provision is set aside in the case of multiple birth, i.e. Up to thirty six weeks parental leave in respect of twins may be taken in the same twelve month period.

However, where a teacher has two eligible children of differing ages, this teacher can only take a maximum of eighteen weeks' parental leave in one twelve month period.

Unpaid Leave

Parental leave is unpaid leave. This unpaid leave is not reckonable for pension purposes, however, it is reckonable for incremental purposes; ie your increment date is not affected by your period(s) of parental leave. It does not constitute a break in service for PRSI purposes.

For further information, please refer to Circular 01/2004, Circular 01/1999 - Parental Leave and the more recent Parental Leave amendment stated in Circular 16/2000

An information booklet is available from the Department of Education and Skills entitled Maternity, Adoptive, Parental and Paternity Leave.