It can be difficult enough trying to cope with morning sickness, tiredness and finding clothes to fit without the added stress and worry about job security during your pregnancy. Maternity Rights in Ireland are reasonably well covered by legislation.
Below are a summary of your rights:
- Working women in Ireland are entitled to 26 weeks maternity leave plus an additional 16 weeks unpaid maternity leave. The employee must inform her employer of her pregnancy and intention to take maternity leave together with providing a medical certificate confirming her due date.
- The employee can decide when to take leave so long as at least two weeks are taken before the due date and 4 weeks after the birth of the child.
- If the employee intents to extend her leave beyond the initial 26 weeks then she should notify her employer as soon as possible but not less than four weeks before her expected date of return to work.
- Employees are entitled to paid time off for both ante-natal and post-natal care. This includes paid time off for medical appointments, examinations and tests.
- The right not to be dismissed for any pregnancy-related reason.
- There is no legislation in Ireland that governs an employee’s entitlement to sick pay except sick leave during pregnancy.
- So long as an employee has notified the employer in writing of her intention to return to work by four weeks before the date she expects to return, she is entitled to the same position she occupied before she took her maternity leave. This means the same terms and conditions the same pay etc
- In a situation where it is not practicable for the employee to return to the same position, she has the right to a suitable alternative position. This position must satisfy two conditions:
(1) the work being done is of the same kind that she had done before her leave and that it is appropriate for her to do under the circumstances and
(2) the terms and conditions regarding where the work is to be done, the capacity in which she is being employed, terms and conditions of the employment are not less favourable to the employee than her job prior to her leave.
- There is no obligation on an employer to pay employees on maternity leave. However, it is important that if your contract of employment states that you are entitled to pay during maternity leave, then you must be paid.
- Employees on maternity leave are entitled to social welfare benefits so long as she has made the necessary PRSI contributions.
- These benefits amount to 80 percent of an employee’s gross income divided by the amount of weeks she works in a year subject to a minimum of €217.80 and a maximum of €262.