Two weeks paternity leave is now available to one "relevant parent" of a child who has been born or adopted after September 1st 2016. A "relevant parent" is defined as follows:
- the father of the child;
- the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the mother of the child; or
- a parent of a donor conceived child as provided for in Section 5 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015
In the case of adopted children, a "relevant parent" is defined as:
- the spouse chosen by a married couple of the same sex to be the "relevant parent" or
- the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of an adopting mother or sole male adopter.
The two weeks paternity leave that is available may only be taken as one block and may not be split into smaller periods of leave and employees should apply for the leave 4 weeks in advance, with a medical certificate confirming expected date of birth or an adoption placement certificate confirming expected date of placement. The notice period may be reduced to 7 days in the event of the birth of the child occurring four or more weeks prematurely.
Employers are not obliged to make any payment to employees during the period of paternity leave and employees may be eligible to receive paternity benefit from the Department of Social Protection subject to having the necessary PRSI contributions. Employers however should take in account how they deal with other forms of statutory leave and whether state payments are normally topped up.
In the case of multiple births or where more than one child is being adopted only one two week period of leave is available.
Annual leave and public holidays accrue as normal during period of paternity leave as if the employee had not been absent from work.