Frequently asked questions

For the purpose of taking parent’s leave, the “relevant parent” may be a teacher who is:
(i) a parent of the child
(ii) the spouse, civil partner, or cohabitant of a parent of the child
(iii) a parent of the child under section 5 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 where the child is a donor-conceived child within the meaning of Part 2 of that Act.

In the case of a child who is, or is to be, adopted the term “relevant parent” means a teacher who is:
(i) the qualifying adopter of the child, and
(ii) the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant, as the case may be, of the qualifying adopter of the child

Each parent is entitled to seven weeks of parent’s leave per child.
This leave is available until your child turns two, or in the case of adoption, for the first two years following your child’s placement.
Parent’s leave is not paid by the Department of Education, but if you have sufficient PRSI contributions – at Class A or Class D – you may be eligible to claim Parent’s Benefit from the DSP, details here. This weekly benefit is currently €250 per week.
You should apply to your school with six weeks’ notice, using the form at Appendix A of circular 50/2022 (PDF).
You must also apply online to the Department of Social Protection for Parent’s Benefit, with at least four weeks’ notice, details here.
Yes.
The full seven weeks do not have to be taken consecutively, but parent’s leave must be taken in multiples of seven days.
No, parent’s leave can commence on any day of the week, as long as it’s being taken in full seven-day blocks. (E.g. Monday to Sunday, Wednesday to Tuesday, etc.)
If your child is still under the age of two, or if it’s less than two years since they were placed with you, you are eligible to take seven weeks’ parent’s leave in total.
If you’ve already taken five weeks, you are eligible to take the remaining two weeks.
No, your entitlement to parent’s leave expired when your baby turned two.
The extension outlined at part 3 of circular 50/2022 (PDF) applies only in very limited circumstances, where a child is turning two, or has been placed with their adoptive parent for two years, in August 2022 and where the employee has requested to commence their Parent’s Leave in August 2022.

The parent must be eligible for the period of leave which is initially being applied for in August 2022 (i.e. the child must be under the age of two, or have been placed with the parent within the past two years, and for the duration of the initially proposed leave).

As the legislation which extended parent’s leave was only published at the end of June, it may not have been possible for an eligible employee requesting parent’s leave in August to have given six weeks’ notice.
If an employer feels they cannot accommodate the requested period of parent’s leave in August without the usual six week notice period, they may agree a new commencement date which is within 12 weeks of the requested date, even though the child will be over age two when the leave is taken.

This extension will not apply to any parent’s leave application which is made after 31 August 2022, or for the parent of a child who is over the age of two when the application is submitted.

You cannot take half a week of parent’s leave, but you may prefer to request a number of days of unpaid leave, rather than parent’s leave.
(For instance, if your school is closing on a Thursday for Christmas – you could request four days of unpaid leave, Monday to Thursday inclusive, returning to salary on Friday, rather than a full seven-day block of parent’s leave which will overlap your Christmas holidays.)
See Chapater 11 of circular 54/2019 (PDF) for details of unpaid leave.
No, it’s fine to end the school year on parent’s leave. As soon as your leave ends, you will return to normal salary regardless of whether the school is open or closed.
Yes, if you have a child under two, you’re eligible to take your parent’s leave. There is no minimum period of continuous employment required before you are eligible to apply for parent’s leave.
If you are eligible for your parent’s leave, your employer cannot refuse it.

However, they do have the discretion to postpone your leave for up to twelve weeks from your proposed commencement date, if granting the dates you’ve requested would have a “substantial adverse effect on the operation of the school.”

If your school wishes to postpone your parent’s leave, they must consult with you in relation to the proposed postponement.

If you child turns two during the postponement imposed by your employer, you will still be considered eligible for your parent’s leave and benefit.

Parent’s leave is not transferable between parents.
There is an exception if one parent dies before the expiration of the leave, in which case the remaining leave may be taken by the surviving parent.
Under the terms of circular 50/2022 (PDF), Parent’s leave may only be revoked by a teacher if five weeks’ notice is given the employer.
Yes, within the period before the leave expires – within two years of the child’s birth or placement – parent’s leave and benefit are still available when the child has died.
You may notify your employer of your intention to revoke an application for parent’s leave no later than five weeks’ before the proposed commencement of the leave.
You will have to give six weeks’ notice for a subsequent application for parent’s leave.
No, you cannot take up any paid employment while on parent’s leave.
Time on parent’s leave will count toward your incremental progression.
You are still in employment while on a parent’s leave, so you will return to service on the same pension scheme. (It is not a “break in service”.)
However, you won’t make pension contributions while you’re not receiving a salary, so if you have taken a lot of unpaid leave, you may wish to consider buying Notional Service or Additional Retirement Benefit through DE Primary Pensions, or contributing to AVCs, in order to make up any shortfall in your contributions.
Cornmarket can provide financial planning advice to INTO members.
You can also claim credited PRSI contributions from the DSP for any periods of parent’s leave, details here.
During periods of statutory unpaid leave, like parent’s 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.

You should contact the relevant providers to whom you’re paying these deductions and arrange an alternative means of payment.
Circular 50/2022 (PDF), and on the INTO help and advice page here.