Ma­ter­nity leave

Enniscorthy Guardian - - NEWS - KnowYour Rights has been com­piled by En­nis­cor­thy Cit­i­zens In­for­ma­tion Ser­vice, 26 Court Street, En­nis­cor­thy which pro­vides a free and con­fi­den­tial ser­vice to the pub­lic. Tel: 0761 076 690. Open Mon­day, Wed­nes­day and Fri­day, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., andTues­day a

I am preg­nant but I have only been work­ing with my em­ployer for a few weeks. Am I en­ti­tled to ma­ter­nity leave?

If you are preg­nant while in em­ploy­ment, you are en­ti­tled to ma­ter­nity leave, re­gard­less of how long you have been work­ing for the or­gan­i­sa­tion or the num­ber of hours worked per week. You can also take ad­di­tional un­paid ma­ter­nity leave. The Ma­ter­nity Pro­tec­tion Acts 1994 and 2004 pro­vide your statu­tory min­i­mum en­ti­tle­ments in re­la­tion to ma­ter­nity at work, in­clud­ing ma­ter­nity leave.

You are en­ti­tled to 26 weeks’ ma­ter­nity leave. You can also take up to 16 weeks’ ad­di­tional un­paid ma­ter­nity leave, which be­gins im­me­di­ately af­ter the end of ma­ter­nity leave.

Un­der the Ma­ter­nity Pro­tec­tion (Amend­ment) Act 2004, you must take at least 2 weeks be­fore the end of the week of your baby’s ex­pected birth and at least 4 weeks af­ter. You can de­cide how you would like to take the re­main­ing weeks. Gen­er­ally, em­ploy­ees take 2 weeks be­fore the birth and the re­main­ing weeks af­ter. If you qual­ify for Ma­ter­nity Ben­e­fit (see be­low) you must take at least 2 and no more than 16 weeks be­fore the end of the week the baby is due.

Your en­ti­tle­ment to pay and su­per­an­nu­a­tion dur­ing ma­ter­nity leave de­pends on the terms of your con­tract of em­ploy­ment. Em­ploy­ers are not obliged to pay you if you are on ma­ter­nity leave. You may qual­ify for Ma­ter­nity Ben­e­fit from the De­part­ment of Em­ploy­ment Af­fairs and So­cial Pro­tec­tion if you have enough PRSI con­tri­bu­tions.

How­ever, your con­tract with your em­ployer could pro­vide for ad­di­tional rights to pay­ment dur­ing the leave pe­riod, so that, for ex­am­ple, you could re­ceive full pay less the amount of your Ma­ter­nity Ben­e­fit.

Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion is avail­able from the Cit­i­zens In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre be­low.

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