Frequently asked questions

You must have one full year of continuous service completed with your employer before you become eligible for Carer’s Leave. This requirement will be waived if you have been compulsorily redeployed.

In order to take Carer’s Leave, the Department of Social Protection must have assessed the needs of the person for whom you are taking the leave and deem them to require full-time care.

It is a period of unpaid leave to allow you to provide full-time care to another person.
Carer’s Leave may be approved for up to two years in order to provide care for one person. This does not have to be a continuous period of two years.
Thirteen weeks is the statutory minimum period of Carer’s Leave, but your employer has the discretion to approve a shorter period of leave.
In order for your employer to sanction Carer’s Leave, you must apply for Carer’s Benefit from the Department of Social Protection. The DSP assessment will confirm whether the person for whom you are caring needs full-time care.

You will apply for Carer’s Benefit using the CARB1 form. (A paper copy may be requested from your local Intreo office or the Carer’s Benefit unit of the DSP).

The application form for Carer’s Leave is at Appendix A of Chapter 6 of circular 54/2019, here. This should be submitted to your employer with six weeks’ notice from the intended commencement of your leave. If the leave is approved, your employer will complete the Confirmation Document at Appendix B, at least four weeks prior to the commencement of your leave.

In emergency situations, your employer can approve your Carer’s Leave pending the outcome of your application for Carer’s Benefit. In this situation, your employer must confirm that you have applied for Carer’s Benefit.
You won’t be paid by the Department of Education during a period of Carer’s Leave, but you may be eligible to claim Carer’s Benefit from the DSP, which is €249 per week.
Your eligibility for Carer’s Benefit will be based on your PRSI contributions. You must also have been employed for at least eight weeks in the previous 26 weeks, for a minimum of 16 hours each week or 32 hours a fortnight.

The DSP must assess the person for whom you are caring as being in need of full-time care.

Please see the Citizens Information website here for full details.

In order to be eligible for Carer’s Benefit, you must have worked a minimum of sixteen hours each week for at least eight weeks in the previous 26 weeks.

As a Job Share teacher, you may be working your twenty-five hours per fortnight as ten hours and fifteen hours on alternating weeks.

Therefore, job sharing may mean you are ineligible to claim Carer’s Benefit.

You can query your entitlement directly with the Carer’s Benefit Section in the DSP.

If you don’t have sufficient PRSI contributions or you have not worked enough hours to be eligible for Carer’s Benefit, but the DSP have confirmed that the person for whom you’re caring does require full-time care, you are still entitled to statutory Carer’s Leave.

If the DSP have advised that the “relevant person” is not in need of full-time care, you will not be entitled to this leave, and will need to attend work or consider other leave options.

You are allowed to substitute teach on Carer’s Leave, subject to the DSP rules.

You may not work more than 18.5 hours per week, or earn more than €450 per week after tax and other deductions. (Income tax, USC, PRSI, pension payments, pension levy, union dues, subscriptions to Friendly Societies, and any health insurance contract premium.)

There is information here about substitute salaries, but your take-home pay will depend on your pesonal tax and other deductions.

Although you may substitute in your own school, you cannot cover any part of the vacancy created by your absence on Carer’s Leave.

Teachers on Carer’s Leave who substitute teach will be paid their personal daily substitute rate, relecting their point on the salary scale. There is more information about how this is worked out here.

If you end a period of Carer’s Leave, you must return to service for at least six weeks before you may resume Carer’s Leave. Therefore, it is not possible to “pause” a period of Carer’s Leave to return to salary for short school closures.

However, you may cease a period of Carer’s Leave at the end of June, in order to return to normal salary for the summer closure, and then resume Carer’s Leave in September.

If you do not intend to resume Carer’s Leave following a school closure, you can end-date your Carer’s Leave immediately prior to the closure and will be paid for the closure.

Carer’s Leave will normally end on the date agreed in the Confirmation Document at the time of application, but may end earlier if:

  • The person for whom you are caring dies;
  • The person for whom you are caring is no longer in need of full-time care

Carer’s Leave counts as service for your incremental progression.

You will not make pension contributions during a period of Carer’s Leave (apart from pension contributions on your substitute service, if applicable).

You will receive credited PRSI contributions during a period of Carer’s Leave. If you are not in receipt of Carer’s Benefit during your Carer’s Leave, your employer will need to send in an application for your credited PRSI when your return to work, here.

You could consider applying for a Career Break or to Job Share in order to continue to provide care.

If the person for whom you are caring is your child, Parental Leave may be an option.

The INTO Leave Estimator has additional FAQs for all these leave types.

Carer’s Benefit is limited to two years for each person for whom you are providing carer, but a means tested Carer’s Allowance may also be available, details here.

You should notify the broker of your salary protection scheme whenever you are going to be off salary to discuss your cover. For members of the INTO Salary Protection Scheme, this is Cornmarket.

A tax-free lump-sum benefit is available to members of the INTO Salary Protection Scheme who are absent for at least 26 weeks on Carer’s Leave. This benefit was introduced in 2019. Scheme members who are taking Carer’s Leave should contact Cornmarket about claiming this benefit.

The full terms and conditions for taking Carer’s Leave are set out in Chapter 6 of circular 54/2019.

Further details in relation to claiming Carer’s Benefit may be accessed on the Citizen’s Information website here.