Parental and Force majeure leave

In the case of parental leave, each parent is entitled to 14 weeks unpaid leave for each child, to enable him or her to take care of the child.

The leave must be taken before the child reaches five years of age.

The only exception to this is in the case of adopted children. If the child is under three at the time of the adoption, then the same rule applies - leave must be taken by the time the child is five. However, if the child is aged between three and eight at the time of adoption, the leave must be taken within two years of the adoption order.

An employee must have at least one year's continuous service with an employer before being entitled to take parental leave. However, where an employee has more than three months', but less than one year's service and where the child is approaching the age threshold, the employee is entitled to one week's leave for every month of continuous employment completed with the employer.

There is no entitlement to social welfare benefit while on parental leave. Employees may receive credited social welfare contributions following a period of parental leave. Employees are advised to contact their local social welfare office directly.

Force majeure leave

Force majeure is a legal term which means that some important and critical event has occurred, as a result, releasing the person directly affected from his or her legal obligations in a particular matter that would otherwise have applied.

It entitles an employee to a number of paid days leave, in order to deal with a family emergency arising from an unforeseen injury to or illness of an immediate family member, which requires the employee's immediate presence at their side.

Under Force majeure leave, the employee is entitled to paid leave for up to three days in any 12-month period or five days in any period of 36 consecutive months.

Bereavement excluded

Force majeure leave specifically excludes bereavements - currently there is no statutory entitlement to paid time off resulting from a family bereavement. (However many companies would have a policy granting some leave in this regard.)

The immediate family members of the employee covered for the purposes of Force majeure leave are:

-A child of the employee, including adopted children.

-A spouse or person with whom the employee is living as a husband or wife.

-A person to whom the employee is in loco parentis (a guardian).

-A brother or sister of the employee.

-A parent or grandparent of the employee.

The scope of the act does not extend beyond the immediate family, e.g. to the mother-in-law.

There is no service requirement for an employee to take Force majeure leave.