Know Your Rights: Changes To Parental Leave

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Know Your Rights has been compiled by Kerry Citizens Information Service which provides a free and confidential service to the public…

Question: I heard that there will be changes to parental leave later this year. What are they? 

Answer: A number of changes to parental leave are due to take place in 2019 and 2020.

Currently parents (and people acting in loco parentis) can take 18 weeks unpaid parental leave on behalf of children up to age eight.

A phased extension to parental leave is planned. From September 1, 2019, parental leave will increase by 4 weeks to 22 weeks. From September 1, 2020, parental leave will increase again by 4 weeks to 26 weeks.

Continued below…


The age of eligible children will increase from 8 to 12 years of age from September 1. Currently, if your child has a disability or a long-term illness, you can take parental leave up until their 16th birthday – there is no change to this provision.

If you have already taken some, or all of the current entitlement of 18 weeks parental leave, you will get the additional weeks of parental leave, provided your child is still under the qualifying age.

A new paid Parental Leave Scheme that will allow parents to take two weeks paid leave each during their child’s first year is expected from November 2019.

Legislation needs to be enacted before this change can come into effect. You can follow the progress on

• Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

• Contact us in Tralee on Tel: 0761 07 7860 Killarney 0761 07 7820, Listowel 0761 07 7840 Kenmare 0761 07 7810, & Caherciveen 0761 07 7780. Outreach Services; Killorglin weekly, Dingle monthly, please call Tralee for more information.

Information is also available online at and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000

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