Know Your Rights: What You Need To Know About Force Majeure 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: My daughter was taken suddenly ill and I left work early to go to hospital with her. Can I take a half day as force majeure leave? 

Answer: The Parental Leave Acts 1998 and 2006 give employees a limited right to leave from work in the event of a family crisis.

This is called force majeure leave.  Force majeure leave is paid leave and it arises where, the immediate presence of the employee is indispensable owing to an injury or illness of a close family member.

As a rule, an employee cannot plan the leave – it must be unexpected. Force majeure leave applies to the illness or injury of:

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• Your natural or adopted child (or a child whom you are acting in loco parentis)
• Your spouse or partner (provided you are living together)
• Your brother or sister
• Your parent or grandparent
• A person who otherwise lives with you in a relationship of domestic dependency

You are not entitled to force majeure leave following the death of a close family member.

You are entitled to up to three days of force majeure leave in any 12-month period or five days in any 36-month period. If you are absent for only part of a day on force majeure grounds, it is still counted as a full day of force majeure leave.

You must give written notice to your employer as soon as possible after taking force majeure leave. The notice must include the date you took the leave and why the leave was necessary. You must sign the notice.

You cannot be dismissed for taking force majeure leave or proposing to take it. If you have a dispute about force majeure leave, you should make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission within six months of the dispute.

The time limit may be extended for up to a further six months, but only where there is a substantial cause which prevented you from bringing the complaint within the normal time limit.

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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