When can I start my maternity leave?

When will my maternity leave finish?

Frequently asked questions

You may find the INTO Maternity Leave Planner above helpful to plan your maternity dates.

The earliest you can start your maternity leave is after your twenty-fourth week of pregnancy.
The latest you can start is the Monday before the week in which your baby is due.

Most people want to take their maternity leave as late as possible, in which case it will start on a Monday, but you are allowed to start your leave on any day of the week.

Paid maternity leave is twenty-six weeks, and this may be followed by unpaid maternity leave for up to sixteen weeks, or 112 days.

If you want to avail of statutory unpaid maternity leave, it must start straight after paid maternity leave, and you can take as much or little of it as you want.

Yes. From 1 September after your career break ends, you have the same entitlement to take maternity leave as any other teacher.

However, you may not have enough PRSI contributions to claim your Maternity Benefit from the DSP. You should still apply for this as normal, but if you’re ineligible for Maternity Benefit, you will notify Primary Payroll of the refusal, and the DE will pay you in full during your maternity leave.

You are not entitled to paid leave from the DE during your career break.

If you’ve been working regularly on career break – as a substitute or in another field – you may be entitled to Maternity Benefit based on your PRSI contributions, but you will need to discuss this with the Department of Social Protection.

Yes, you are entitled to take your maternity leave, subject to the same conditions as any other teacher, while within your contract. If your contract ends before your maternity leave ends, your payment from the DE will cease at the end of your contract, unless you take up a subsequent contract.
Yes, you are entitled to take your maternity leave, subject to the same conditions as any other teacher, while within your contract.

However, as you are paid through the OLCS, you will need to submit a Substitute for a Substitute form to claim your salary for the duration of your absence.

If your contract ends before your maternity leave ends, your payment from the DE will cease at the end of your contract, unless you take up a subsequent contract.

Yes, you are entitled to take your maternity leave, subject to the same conditions as any other teacher, while within your contract.

However, as you are paid through the OLCS, you will need to submit a Substitute for a Substitute form to claim your salary for the duration of your absence.

If your contract ends before your maternity leave ends, your payment from the DE will cease at the end of your contract, unless you take up a subsequent contract.

Yes, you can take paid leave with substitute cover to attend any medical appointments related to your pregnancy.

These will be recorded as Antenatal Visits on the OLCS and aren’t part of your sick leave. Where possible, two weeks’ notice should be given, and evidence of the appointment should be provided to your school to support your absence.

Yes, you are entitled to paid leave with substitute cover to attend one full set of antenatal classes in your career, and the final three classes in a set for any subsequent pregnancies.

Two weeks’ notice should be given, and appropriate documentations should be provided to your school to support your absences.

You are required to give six weeks’ notice when you’re applying for your paid maternity leave.

If you want to take statutory unpaid maternity leave, you must apply for it at least six weeks’ before your paid maternity leave is due to end.

You apply to your school for the leave, using the form here (PDF). This must be accompanied by a medical certificate confirming your expected due date.

You must also apply to the DSP for Maternity Benefit, using the MB1 and MB2, here (PDF). Alternatively, if you have a verified MyGovID, you can apply for your Maternity Benefit online through MyWelfare.

If you pay Class A PRSI, you must apply for maternity Benefit from the DSP. This is €250 per week. Maternity Benefit will be paid to you personally, and Primary Payroll will deduct the value of it from your salary. (So you will be paid in full during your maternity leave, but from two different Departments.)

If you’re not eligible for Maternity Benefit, if you provide Primary Payroll with evidence of the refusal, they will adjust the deduction accordingly.

If your baby is born before your maternity leave was due to start, your maternity leave will start immediately on the day you give birth, and you will apply for an extension of your twenty-six weeks Maternity Benefit and paid leave.

See part 3 of Chapter Two of circular 54/2019 for full details of this extended leave.

If you have a miscarriage before the end of your twenty-fourth week of pregnancy, the ordinary terms of the sick leave scheme will apply.

If you were more than twenty-four weeks pregnant, or if your baby had a birth weight of at least 500 grammes, or if your baby was born alive, you will be entitled to your full maternity leave, including unpaid maternity leave.

In most cases, there is no entitlement to leave in lieu.

Full-time workers have a statutory entitlement to twenty days of annual leave and ten public holidays. Teachers on leave will generally have sufficient days of paid leave through scheduled school closures, outside their Maternity leave, to address this entitlement.

However, if you’re starting your maternity leave in spring, and you’re going to be on your leave through both the Easter and Summer closures, you may be entitled to take a small number of days of annual leave in lieu immediately before your maternity leave begins.

Please see the more comprehensive explanation here and Chapter 10 of circular 54/2019 (PDF) for further details.

This is a summary of your leave entitlements:

Statutory unpaid maternity leave

  • Up to sixteen weeks available
  • Must commence immediately after paid Maternity leave ends
  • Doesn’t have to be in full weeks, can use as much or little as you wish
  • Apply to school with form here (PDF), giving at least six weeks’ notice

 

Non-statutory unpaid maternity leave

  • Additional unpaid leave ending on 31 August
  • Subject to approval of employer
  • May commence only after statutory paid maternity leave and 16 weeks of unpaid maternity leave have been used
  • May be preceded by Parent’s Leave
  • Apply to school with form here (PDF), giving at least six weeks’ notice

 

Parent’s leave

  • Must be used before your baby turns two
  • Seven weeks available
  • Unpaid by the DE, but Parent’s Benefit may be claimed
  • Must be taken in full weeks, but not necessarily consecutively
  • Apply to school with form here (PDF), giving at least four weeks’ notice, and apply for Parent’s Benefit here

 

Parental leave

  • Twenty-six weeks per child
  • Available until child turns thirteen, or sixteen if the child has a disability or long-term illness
  • Unpaid leave
  • Must be taken in full weeks, but not necessarily consecutively
  • Exceptional pattern may be approved if child has recurring medical or clinical appointments
  • Apply to school with form here (PDF), giving at least six weeks’ notice

 

Unpaid leave

  • Up to ten single days per school year, subject to approval of employer
  • Apply to school with form here (PDF), giving at least six weeks’ notice

Information in relation to the leave available to you is available on the website. You will need to schedule your leave with reference to your own school calendar.

Subject to the rules of each leave type, you may be able to break up a period of leave and return to payroll during some scheduled school closures.

For example:

  • Susan’s paid maternity leave ends on 15 January, and she wishes to stay on leave until the summer holidays
  • She could use some of her statutory unpaid maternity leave from 16 January until the Friday of the Easter break, inclusive, in order to return to salary for Easter
  • Having returned to salary for Easter, she cannot resume her unpaid maternity leave after Easter
  • She could apply for a period of parent’s and parental Leave from the Monday after Easter, until the end of June
  • She must take her Parent’s and Parental Leave in full seven-day blocks, so if it starts on the Monday after Easter, it will end on a Sunday inclusive
  • Susan’s employer may also approve a day or two of unpaid leave for the final days of term, if her school is closing mid-week at the end of June

No, it’s fine to end the year on unpaid leave (or parental leave, parent’s leave, or an EPV day). As soon as your leave ends, you return to normal salary whether the school is open or closed.
You should contact the relevant providers to whom you’re paying these deductions and arrange an alternative means of payment.
During periods of statutory unpaid leave, you can maintain your INTO membership for up to two years without charge.

Contact membershiproi@into.ie with the details of your unpaid leave, and the Membership team will ensure that your membership remains live throughout. Please include your DE Payroll number so Membership can confirm your identity.

Chapter Two of circular 54/2019 (PDF), and on the INTO help and advice page here.