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Ireland - Maternity protection - 2009


LAST UPDATE

3 June 2009

SOURCES


Name of Act

Maternity Protection Act, No. 34 of 1994, dated 27 December, 1994, as amended up to Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act, 2004 (No. 28 of 2004).

Name of Act

Social Welfare Consolidation Act, No. 26, dated 27 November 2005, as amended up to Social Welfare and Pensions Act, 2008 (No. 2 of 2008)

Name of Act

Factories Act 1955 (Manual Work) (Maximum Weights and Transport) Regulations, No. 283 of 1972, dated 17 November 1972

Name of Act

Employment Equality Act, No. 21 of 1997, dated 18 June, 1998, as amended up to Equality Act 2004 (No.24 of 2004), dated 18 July 2004.

Name of Act

Unfair Dismissals Act, Act No. 10, dated 6 April 1977, as amended up to Protection of Employment (Exceptioinal Collective Redundancies and Related Matters) Act 2007 (No. 27 of 2007)

Name of Act

Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations, No. 142 of 2007

Name of Act

Parental Leave Act, Act No. 30, dated 8 July 1998, as amended by Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2006, No. 13, dated 18 May 2006.

Name of Act

Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Pregnant Employees etc.) Regulations, No. 218 of 2000

Name of Act

Adoptive Leave Act, Act No. 2, dated 15 March 1995, as amended by Adoptive Leave Act 2005 (No. 25 of 2005)..

Name of Act

Maternity Protection (Proteciton of Mothers who are Breastfeeding) Regulations 2004, Statutory Instrument No. 654, dated 7 October 2004.

Name of Act

Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations, 1993, (S.I. No. 44 of 1993), as amended by Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) (Amendment No. 2) Regulations, 2003 (S.I. No. 53 of 2003).
Original Act: http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1993/en/si/0044.html#zzsi44y1993a41
Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) (Amendment No. 2) Regulations, 2003 (S.I. No. 53 of 2003). http://www.entemp.ie/publications/sis/2003/si53.pdf

MATERNITY LEAVE


Scope

Women who entered into or work under a contract of employment (including apprentices) in the private sector and in the civil service of the Government, the State, and the local and public authorities.
Maternity Protection Act §2

Qualifying conditions

A female employee must, as soon as reasonably practicable, but not later than four weeks before the commencement of maternity leave, inform her employer in writing of her intention to take leave, and produce a medical certificate or "other appropriate certificate" confirming the pregnancy and indicating the expected week of confinement.
Maternity Protection Act §9

Duration


Compulsory leave

Two weeks before and four weeks after the end of the expected week of confinement.
Maternity Protection Act §8 and 10-11

General total duration

26 consecutive weeks plus 16 weeks unpaid maternity leave after confinement. Maternity leave may in general commence or end on any day selected by the female employee (but see ’compulsory leave’). In the event of the death of the mother before the end of the 24th week following the week of confinement, the father has certain rights.
Maternity Protection Act §8, 10-11, 14B and 16
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Historical data (year indicates year of data collection)
  • 2011: 26 consecutive weeks plus 16 weeks unpaid maternity leave after confinement. Maternity leave may in general commence or end on any day selected by the female employee (but see 'compulsory leave'). In the event of the death of the mother before the end of the 24th week following the week of confinement, the father has certain rights.
  • 2004: Eighteen weeks
  • 1998: Fourteen weeks
  • 1994: Fourteen weeks

Extension

If the child is born later than expected, postnatal leave may be extended by the necessary number of consecutive weeks, by up to a maximum of four weeks. The employee must, as soon as practicable, notify her employer in writing of the proposed extension and, as soon as practicable after the date of confinement, confirm to her employer in writing the notification mentioned above and specify the duration of the extension.
Maternity Protection Act §12, 14

RELATED TYPES OF LEAVE


Parental leave


Scope

An employee who is the natural, the adoptive parent or any person acting in loco parentis with respect to an eligible child shall be entitled to leave from his or her employment to take care of the child.
Parental Leave Act §6(1) and (9)

Qualifying conditions

After one year of contiuous employment with the employer. However, if the employee has completed three months of such employment, he/she shall be entitled to parental leave for a period of one week for each month of continuous employment completed at the commencement of the leave. When an employee proposes to take parental leave, he or she shall, as soon as reasonably practicable but not later than 6 weeks before the commencemenet of the leave, give notice in writing to his or her employer.
Parental Leave Act §6(4) and 8

Length

Fourteen working weeks each for both parents, either taken in a continuous period of 14 weeks or separate periods of a minimum of 6 weeks. A period of parental leave shall end (a) not later than the day on which the child concerned attains the age of 8 years; or (b) in the case of a child who is the subject of an adoption order and who had attained the age of 6 years, but had not attained the age of 8 years, on or before the date of the making of that order, not later than the expiration of the period of two years beginning on that date, or (c) if the child has a disability, not later than the day on which the child attains the age of 16 years or ceases to have that disability or any other disability.
Parental Leave Act §6(1- 7)

Paternity leave


Scope

Paternity leave is not provided for in Irish legislation.

Adoption leave


Scope

An employed adopting mother (or single male adopter). If the mother dies, the father shall be entitled to adoption leave.
Adoptive Leave Act §6 and 8-10

Qualifying conditions

Adoption leave is subject to notification to the employer.
Adoptive Leave Act §7

Length

24 consecutive weeks, plus an additional (unpaid) period of 16 consecutive weeks, beginning on the day of placement, or such other period as the Minister for Equality and Law Reform may, with the consent of the Minister for Social Welfare and the Minister for Finance, prescribe by order.
Adoptive Leave Act §6 and 8 and 11C

RIGHT TO PART-TIME WORK


General provisions

Persons entitled to parental leave have the right to work part-time, provided that an agreement between the employer or representatives of the employer and other employers and the employee or representatives of the employee and other employees has been reached.
Parental Leave Act §7

Length

Parental leave may consist of one or more days on which, but for the leave, the employee would be working in the employment concerned or one or more hours during which, but for the leave, the employee would be working in the employment concerned, or any combinaton of these two possibilities. Parental leave ends not later thatn the day on which the child reaches 5 years of age or in case of adoption of a child between 3 and 8 years of age not later than 2 years after the adoption.
Parental Leave Act §6,7

CASH BENEFITS


Maternity leave benefits


Scope

All women who are entitled to maternity leave, including women who are in self employment. A female employee may be disqualified if she has any other occupation, except domestic work in her own home, during her absence, or fails, without good cause, to attend or submit herself to medical examinations required by regulations. Benefits are also paid if the child is stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Social Welfare Consolidation Act §37 and 40-41

Qualifying conditions

The right to cash benefits is subject to a medical certificate stating the expected week of birth and an employer’s certificate stating that the female employee is entitled to maternity leave. Furthermore, the employee or self-employed must have paid social insurance contributions of a specified amount.
Social Welfare Consolidation Act §47-48
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Duration

26 weeks
Social Welfare Consolidation Act §47

Amount

80 per cent of the average amount of weekly earnings, or a fixed weekly amount, or the amount of disability benefits which the woman would otherwise recieve if she was entitled to the said benefit, whichever is the greater. Maternity benefits amount at least to ¿207.80, up to a maximum of ¿280.00 per week (80% of reckonable earnings of up to ¿350).
Social Welfare Consolidation Act §6(1), 49
Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations, No. 142 of 2007 §32(2), 33
Historical data (year indicates year of data collection)
  • 2011: 80 per cent of the average amount of weekly earnings, or a fixed weekly amount, or the amount of disability benefits which the woman would otherwise recieve if she was entitled to the said benefit, whichever is the greater. Maternity benefits amount at least to €207.80, up to a maximum of €280.00 per week (80% of reckonable earnings of up to €350).
  • 2004: Seventy percent
  • 1998: Seventy percent (up to a ceiling) or fixed rate
  • 1994: Seventy percent

Financing of benefits

Social Insurance Fund. For the purposes of providing moneys for meeting the expenditure on benefit and making any other payments which are to be made out of the Social Insurance Fund, there shall be: (a) contributions in respect of employed contributors, each of which shall comprise a contribution by the employed contributor and a contribution by the employer of the employed contributor, (b) contributions in respect of self-employed contributors, (c) contributions in respect of voluntary contributors, and (d) payments out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas (the National Parliament).
Social Welfare Consolidation Act §6(1), 49
Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations, No. 142 of 2007 §32(2), 33
Historical data (year indicates year of data collection)
  • 2011: Social Insurance Fund. For the purposes of providing moneys for meeting the expenditure on benefit and making any other payments which are to be made out of the Social Insurance Fund, there shall be: (a) contributions in respect of employed contributors, each of which shall comprise a contribution by the employed contributor and a contribution by the employer of the employed contributor, (b) contributions in respect of self-employed contributors, (c) contributions in respect of voluntary contributors, and (d) payments out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas (the National Parliament).
  • 2004: Social security
  • 1998: Social security
  • 1994: Social security

Parental leave benefits


Amount

(unpaid)

Adoption leave benefits


Scope

An employed or self-employed adopting mother, an adopting father if the adopting mother has died, or a single male adopter.
Social Welfare Consolidation Act §58

Qualifying conditions

A specified amount of social insurance contributions is necessary to qualify for adoption leave benefits.
Social Welfare Consolidation Act §59
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Duration

Adoptive benefit is payable for 24 consecutive weeks.
Adoptive Leave Act §6
Social Welfare Consolidation Act §58 (3)(4), 60 (1-a)

Amount

80 per cent of the average amount of weekly earnings, or a fixed weekly amount, or the amount of disability benefits which the adopting parent would otherwise recieve if she or he was entitled to the said benefit, whichever is the greater. Adoptive benefits amount at least to ¿207.80, up to a maximum of ¿280.00 per week (80% of reckonable earnings of up to ¿350).
Parental Leave Act §41 G and I
Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations, No. 142 of 2007 §40, 41

Financing of benefits

Social Insurance Fund. For the purposes of providing moneys for meeting the expenditure on benefit and making any other payments which are to be made out of the Social Insurance Fund, there shall be: (a) contributions in respect of employed contributors, each of which shall comprise a contribution by the employed contributor and a contribution by the employer of the employed contributor, (b) contributions in respect of self-employed contributors, (c) contributions in respect of voluntary contributors, and (d) payments out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas (the National Parliament).
Social Welfare Consolidation Act §6(1)

BREASTFEEDING


Right to nursing breaks or daily reduction of hours of work

An employee who is breastfeeding shall be entitled, without loss of pay, at the option of her employer to either 1 hour off from her work each day for the purpose of breastfeeding or a reduction of her working hours by 1 hour each day up to 26 weeks after confinement. The breastfeeding break may be taken in the form of one break of 60 minutes, two breaks of 30 minutes each, three breaks of 20 minutes each, or in such other manner as to number and duration of breaks as may be agreed by her and her employer. Time off from work, or a reduction in working hours, for breastfeeding is calculated on a pro rata basis for a part-time employee.
Maternity Protection Act §15B
Maternity Protection (Proteciton of Mothers who are Breastfeeding) Regulations 2004 §2-4

Remuneration of nursing breaks

Breastfeeding breaks shall not lead to a loss of pay.

Nursing facilities

An employer shall not be required to provide facilities for breastfeeding in the work-place if the provision of such facilities would give rise to a cost, other than nominal cost, to the employer.

Pregnant women and nursing mothers shall be able to lie down to rest in appropriate conditions.
Maternity Protection Act §15B
Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations, 1993 Schedule 3

HEALTH PROTECTION


Arrangement of working time


Night work

If a registered medical practitioner certifies that it is necessary for the safety or health of an employee that she should not be required to perform night work (23:00-06:00) during pregnancy or for 14 weeks following childbirth the employer shall not oblige her to perform night work during that period. In such cases, the employer shall transfer the employee to daytime work or, where such a transfer is not technically or objectively feasible on duly substantiated grounds or both, grant the employee leave or extend the period of maternity leave.
Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Pregnant Employees etc.) Regulations §5

Time off for medical examinations

For the purpose of receiving ante-natal or post-natal care or both, an employee shall be entitled to time off from her work, without loss of pay.
Maternity Protection Act §15(1)

Dangerous or unhealthy work


General

It shall be the duty of every employer to assess any risk to the safety or health of employees, and any possible effect on the pregnancy of, or breastfeeding by, employees, resulting from any activity at that employer’s place of work likely to involve a risk of exposure to any agent, process or working condition and, for that purpose, to determine the nature, degree and duration of any employee’s exposure to any agent, process or working condition and to take the preventive and protective measures necessary to ensure the safety and health of such employees and to avoid any possible effect on such pregnancy or breastfeeding,
Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Pregnant Employees etc.) Regulations §4.a

Risk assessment


» Assessment of workplace risks

It shall be the duty of every employer to assess any risk to the safety or health of employees, and any possible effect on the pregnancy of, or breastfeeding by, employees, resulting from any activity at that employer’s place of work likely to involve a risk of exposure to any agent, process or working condition and, for that purpose, to determine the nature, degree and duration of any employee’s exposure to any agent, process or working condition and to take the preventive and protective measures necessary to ensure the safety and health of such employees and to avoid any possible effect on such pregnancy or breastfeeding,
Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Pregnant Employees etc.) Regulations §4.a

» Adaptation of conditions of work

Where the risk assessment carried out reveals a risk to an employee’s safety or health, or any possible effect on the pregnancy or breastfeeding of an employee, and it is not practicable to ensure the safety or health of such employee through protective or preventive measures, to adjust temporarily the working conditions or the working hours (or both) of the employee concerned so that exposure to such risk is avoided.
Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Pregnant Employees etc.) Regulations §4.c

» Transfer to another post

In cases in which the adjustment of working conditions or working hours (or both), referred to in paragraph (c), is not technically or objectively feasible (or both), or cannot reasonably be required on duly substantiated grounds, to take the measures necessary to provide the employee concerned with other work, which does not present a risk to the safety or health of, or any possible effect on the pregnancy or breastfeeding by, such employee.
Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Pregnant Employees etc.) Regulations §4.d

» Paid/unpaid leave

If, by regulations, an employer is required to move a pregnant employee, an employee who has recently given birth, or an employee who is breastfeeding to other work (whether as a result of risk assessment or because the employee cannot be required to perform night work), but (a) it is not technically or objectively feasible for the employer to move the employee as required; (b) such a move cannot reasonably be required on duly substantiated grounds; or (c) the other work to which the employer proposes to move the employee is not suitable for her, the employee shall be granted leave from her employment. For the first 21 days of leave granted to an employee by an employer, the employee shall be entitled to receive remuneration from the employer. A Health and safety benefit is payable aterwards until the woman becomes entitled to maternity benefit, or for 14 weeks after the baby’s birth, and 26 weeks in the case of a breastfeeding employee.
Maternity Protection Act §18
Social Welfare Consolidation Act §41D

» Right to return

Where an employer receives notification from an employee who (1) cesases breastfeeding, or (2) becomes aware that her condition is no longer such that she is vulnerable to the risk by virtue of which she was granted leave; and an employer has no reason to believe that, if the employee returned to work, she would be vulnerable to risk, the employer shall take all reasonable measures to enable the employee to return to work in the job which she held immediately before the start of her leave .
Maternity Protection Act §20

Particular risks


» Arduous work (manual lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling of loads)

During pregnancy and during the 10 weeks following confinement, women are prohibited from lifting weights and manually transporting loads if a medical practitioner deems it likely to impair their health or that of their children.
Factories Act 1955 (Manual Work) (Maximum Weights and Transport) Regulations §5(2)

» Work involving exposure to biological, chemical or physical agents

Pregnant women, women who has recently given birth, or women who are breastfeeding may be exposed to a risk to their health and safety or a possible effect on their pregnancy if they are exposed to: -a physical agent which is regarded as foetal lesions or is likely to disrupt placental attachment. These include shocks, vibration or movement, handling of loads, noise, ionizing radiation, non-ionizing radiation, extremes of cold or heat, movements and posturestravelling (either within or outside the place of work), mental and physical fatigue, and other physical burdens connected with the activity of the employee; -certain biological or chemical agents which are known to endanger the health of pregnant employees and the unborn child. These include mercury and mercury derivates, antimitotic grugs, carbon monoxide, chemical agents of known and dangerous percutaneous absrption; -certain industrial processes involving carcinogens; -work in underground mines, exposure to lead or lead derivates which can be adsorbed by the body, hyperbarc atmospheres (e.g. underwater diving), or, in the case of pregnant women, exposure (without immunization) to toxoplasma or the rubella virus.
Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Pregnant Employees etc.) Regulations §4, Schedule 2
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» Work involving physical strain (prolonged periods of sitting, standing, exposure to extreme temperatures, vibration)

Pregnant women, women who has recently given birth, or women who are breastfeeding may be exposed to a risk to their health and safety or a possible effect on their pregnancy if they are exposed to: -a physical agent which is regarded as foetal lesions or is likely to disrupt placental attachment. These include (inter alia) shocks, vibration or movement, handling of loads, noise, extremes of cold or heat, movements and postures, travelling (either within or outside the place of work), mental and physical fatigue, and other physical burdens connected with the activity of the employee.
Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Pregnant Employees etc.) Regulations 34, Schedule 2 Part B

NON-DISCRIMINATION AND EMPLOYMENT SECURITY


Anti-discrimination measures

Discrimination shall be taken to occur where, a person is treated less favourable than another person is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation on any of the following grounds, among others: that one is a woman and the other is a man, that they are of different marital status, that one has family status and the other does not. This discrimination could be in relation to (a) access to employment,(b) conditions of employment, (c) training or experience for or in relation to employment, (d) promotion or re-grading, or (e) classification of posts. Nothing in the Employment Equality Act shall make it unlawful for an employer to arrange for or provide treatment which confers benefits on women in connection with pregnancy and maternity (including breastfeeding) or adoption.
Employment Equality Act §6, 8 and 26

Protection from discriminatory dismissal

Termination of suspension of employment is void if the employee was terminated/suspended while on maternity leave, leave taken by the father if the mother dies, leave on safety and health grounds, for prenatal or postnatal care, during a period of absence from work to attend ante-natal classes, or absence from work for breastfeeding, even if suspension/termination expires after expiration of those leaves. Any notice of termination or suspension given to an employee before the employee notified the employer as required of his or her intention to take any of the above leaves, and the notice of termination or suspension of which would expire during the employee’s absence on leave, is extended accordingly. Dismissal is unfair if it results wholly or mainly from the employee’s pregnancy, giving birth or breast-feeding, or matters connected therewith. Exceptions exist.
Maternity Protection Act §23-24
Unfair Dismissals Act §6
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Guaranteed right to return to work

A female employee, or the father of a child whose mother has died, has the right to return to the same job under the contract of employment she or he was employed under before going on maternity leave, or leave on safety and health grounds. The employee must, not later than four weeks before the date on which he or she expects to return to work, notify the employer in writing of his or her intention to return to work and the date when he or she expects to return to work. However, if it is not reasonably practicable for the employer, or his or her successor, to permit the woman (or the father) to return to the same job, suitable alternative employment, under a new contract of employment, must be offered.
Maternity Protection Act §22, 25-28 and 40
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Results generated on: 24th October 2014 at 10:32:43.
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