We've released our report on The State of Benefits in European Tech 🌍




Country Availability

Country Availability




February 7, 2024

What Is Ireland’s Paternity Leave Policy & Who Can Apply?

All male workers in Ireland have the right to take paternity leave after the birth or adoption of their child. Discover its eligibility, duration, entitlements, and more.

Aine Kavanagh

Article written by

Aine Kavanagh

Enjoying this article?

Share it with the world!

Paternity leave in Ireland allows male employees to take time off work after the birth or adoption of their child.

You can begin your paternity leave any time within six months after your child is born or adopted, regardless of whether you’re employed, self-employed, or a casual/part-time worker.

Keep reading to learn about Ireland's paternity leave policy and the benefits you're entitled to.

Further Reading

  • Taking a paternity leave? Explore Ireland’s Paternity Benefit — a weekly social welfare payment for employed and self-employed individuals in Ireland. 

Who Can Take Paternity Leave in Ireland?

In Ireland, you can take paternity leave if you’re an employed, self-employed, casual, or part-time worker. 

As per the Irish paternity leave policy, only one ‘relevant parent’ of the child can take paternity leave. This relevant parent can be the:

  • Biological father of the child.

  • Spouse, cohabitant, or civil partner of the child's mother (regardless of gender).

  • Parent of a donor-conceived child.

You can also take paternity leave if you and your partner adopt a child. 

When it comes to child adoption, paternity leave can be taken by:

  • A person other than the adoptive mother of the child, typically the spouse, cohabitant, or civil partner. 

  • The sole male adopter and carer of the child.

  • A person in a male same-sex marriage who is not taking adoptive leave.

How Long Is Paternity Leave in Ireland?

You can take paternity leave for two consecutive weeks and start it any time within the first 6 months (26 weeks) after the birth or adoption of your child in Ireland.

You’re entitled to this two weeks' leave, regardless of the length of your service and the number of hours you’ve worked.  

However, your leave entitlement will remain the same length, no matter how many children you have or adopt at the same time. 

Even if you have twins or adopt multiple children, you’ll only get two weeks of paternity leave. 

Do You Get Paid While on Paternity Leave?

In Ireland, your employer isn’t obligated to pay you while you’re on paternity leave. 

However, you may be entitled to receive paternity pay from your employer if it’s specified in your contract of employment or if your employer offers this as an extra benefit.

But here’s the thing…

Even if your employer doesn't pay you while you’re on leave, you can receive a weekly payment from the Irish government by applying for the Paternity Benefit. 

The Paternity Benefit is a weekly social welfare payment by the Department of Social Protection (DSP) to employed and self-employed individuals on paternity leave. 

To qualify for this payment, you must have enough Pay Related Social Insurance contributions (PRSI contributions) and be on a certified leave from work. You can get the application form by contacting the Paternity Benefit section.

Learn more about Paternity Benefit Payment Rates

When Should You Inform Your Employer About Your Paternity Leave?

If you're planning to take paternity leave, notify your employer at least four weeks before the date you want to start your leave.

Depending on whether you become a parent through childbirth or adoption, there are specific details you’ll need to share with your employer:

  • For Childbirth: Provide your employer with a medical certificate from your spouse’s or partner's doctor confirming their expected due date. However, if you're applying for leave after your child's birth, your medical certificate should confirm the child’s actual birth date. 

  • For Adoption: Provide your employer with a ‘certificate of placement’ confirming your child's adoption. If the adoption occurred internationally, you must also provide a ‘declaration of eligibility and suitability’ and written information about when the child was placed with you or the expected day of placement.

What Are Your Employer’s Obligations While You’re on Paternity Leave?

As per Ireland’s Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016, your employer must follow certain rules when you’re on paternity leave:

  • Your employer cannot discriminate against you, punish you, or terminate your employment because you take paternity leave. They also cannot suspend you while you're on leave.

  • Your employer must maintain written records of your paternity leave as well as that of other employees. These records should include details about when each employee was on leave and for how long.

  • Your employer must keep these records for a minimum of 8 years.

  • When your leave ends, your employer must allow you to return to your original job. If this is not possible, they must provide you with suitable alternative work.

If your employer fails to comply with these obligations, report the issue to the Workplace Relations Commission within 12 months of the offence. Non-compliant employers can face penalisation and must pay a fine of up to €4,000. The Workplace Relations Commission can also take legal action against them.

4 FAQs on Irish Paternity Leave

Here are the answers to commonly asked questions about paternity leave in Ireland

1. Can You Take Paternity Leave In Case of Premature Birth or Stillbirth?

You can take paternity leave if your child is born prematurely or if there is a stillbirth.

  • Premature Births: If your baby is premature, you can apply for or change the dates of your paternity leave by informing your employer in writing. You must also submit a letter from your doctor confirming your new leave dates and your child's birth certificate.

  • Stillbirths: If your partner experiences a stillbirth or miscarriage after the 24th week of pregnancy or if your baby weighs at least 500 grams at birth, you’re eligible for paternity leave. You must provide a letter from your doctor to your employer. This letter should include the expected date of birth, the actual date of birth, and the duration of the pregnancy.

2. Is it Possible to Postpone Your Paternity Leave in Ireland?

You can postpone your paternity leave if your child is born later than the expected date of birth or if there’s a delay in adoption placement. 

Paternity leave postponement is also possible if:

  • You get sick before your leave starts: If you fall ill just before your paternity leave starts, you can delay it. You and your employer should agree upon the new start date, but it must end within 28 weeks after your child's birth or adoption placement.

  • Your child is hospitalised: If your child is under hospitalisation due to a severe medical problem, you can postpone your paternity leave. You should start your leave within 7 days after your child’s discharge from the hospital or on a date you and your employer decide.

3. Can Fathers Get Maternity Leave in Ireland?

A father can take maternity leave (or adoptive leave in case of adoption) under exceptional circumstances, such as if the mother of the child passes away. 

The duration of the maternity leave depends upon how soon after childbirth the mother passes away, and the leave starts within 7 days of her death.

Additionally, you also have the option to take your paternity leave immediately after the maternity leave ends, but only if you haven't already used your paternity leave.

4. Is Ireland's Paternity Leave Policy Good?

Ireland's statutory paternity leave policy offers two weeks’ leave to all male workers, allowing them time off work to stay with their newborn or adopted child. 

The government also offers financial assistance to workers through Paternity Benefit payments and offers job security to employees on paternity leave. 

These are positive policies, especially when some countries don’t offer any paternal leave for fathers.

However, compared to EU countries like Sweden and Norway, the duration and payment of paternity leave in Ireland is relatively shorter and less generous.

For instance, in Sweden, new parents can share 480 days of parental leave with pay, beginning at 80% of their salary. Similarly, in Norway, fathers can get 15 weeks of full-pay paternity leave or 19 weeks of paternity leave at 80% of their pay, covered by their social security system.

Supplement Your Employees’ Paternity Leave with Kota’s Benefits 

The Irish government introduced the paternity leave policy to allow fathers to bond with their newborn or adopted child during the crucial early stages of development.

However, worker’s participation in this scheme is still low as many Irish employers don’t supplement the government-provided benefits with additional salary top-ups. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Even if you can’t offer paid leave, you can still support your employees by providing comprehensive health insurance and retirement plans. 

And that’s where Kota can help!

With Kota, you can:

  • Set up and manage your employees’ health and pension plans.

  • Give your employees the flexibility to choose their plans based on their budget. 

  • Compare your benefits and pension packages against local industry standards.

  • Integrate Kota with your existing HR and payroll tools to reduce admin.

So join Kota and get your team covered in less than 5 minutes. 

Aine Kavanagh

Article written by

Aine Kavanagh

👋🏻 Hi I'm Aine, Head of Customer Success at Kota. Whether you're a Kota customer, a Kota user, or you're just browsing, I hope to help educate and empower those who want to know more about owning their own benefits, and building financial autonomy 📚

Similar articles

Read more exciting content like this in our blog!

Read blog

Built for teams of today, like yours.

Zero commitments – get started for free