Irish Medical Organisation

Consultant Update – Statutory Leave

Maternity Leave


The current statutory entitlement to Maternity Leave is 26 weeks. This leave must be commenced at least 2 weeks before the end of the expected week of confinement (due date) and there must be at least 4 weeks leave left to take after the end of the expected week of confinement.


Under your contract you are entitled to be paid for this leave.


You are also entitled to a further 16 weeks of leave, but this is unpaid leave.


Adoptive Leave


The same will apply in relation to adoptive leave.


Paternity Leave

Paternity leave is available to what is termed a ‘relevant parent’ of the child. As per the legislation, a ‘relevant parent’ is the father of the child, the partner (spouse, civil partner or cohabitant) of the mother of the child, or the parent of a donor-conceived child.

This leave must be taken with 26 weeks of the birth of the child and you are required to provide 6 weeks’ notice to your employer.


Under your contract you are entitled to be paid for these 2 weeks.


Parents Leave


Parents leave is a period of 2 weeks unpaid leave available to both parents. (It was announced in Budget 2021 that this leave would increase to 5 weeks and this is expected to happen in April, but the legislation has not yet been introduced).

It must be taken 12 months of the birth or adoption of a child. It is separate to maternity and paternity leave. This applies to children born on or after 1st November 2019.


You may be entitled to receive parents benefit for any period of parents leave, dependent on your PRSI contributions.


Parental Leave


Parental leave is currently 26 weeks per child, and can be taken up to a child’s 12th birthday. For children with a disability or long-term illness this is extended to the child’s 16th birthday. This is unpaid leave and you must have 1 years’ service.


This leave is to be taken as follows:


  • One continuous period of leave or
  • 2 separate blocks of a minimum of 6 weeks each (there must be 10 weeks between such periods)
  • If your employer consents, broken into working days and/or hours


If you have any queries on the above please contact our member advisory team by emailing: or by calling (01)6767273.


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