Explanatory Note on Maternity Leave
HR 108(i)_V4 Mar 2018 Page 3 of 4 Revised 02/01/2019
Maternity Leave – Entitlements
Under the Maternity Protection Acts 1994 and 2004 employees are entitled to 26 weeks maternity leave. A
pregnant employee can begin and end her maternity leave on any day she selects but must take:
• a minimum of two weeks leave before the end of the expected week of confinement
• 4 weeks leave after the end of the expected week of confinement.
An employee is also entitled to take 16 weeks’ (unpaid) additional maternity leave immediately after the end
of ordinary maternity leave.
Maternity Leave – Notification Requirements
An employee must notify her Department Head of her intention to take maternity leave at least four weeks before the leave is
due to commence.
Application for additional maternity leave should be made either at the time of the initial application or in writing not later than 4
weeks before the end of the maternity leave.
If an employee changes her mind about taking maternity leave she may revoke the notice by sending a further written notice to
her Department Head.
Payment while on Maternity Leave
While the maternity protection legislation does not protect the employee’s entitlement to remuneration during maternity leave,
the health service operates a maternity pay scheme as follows:
All employees on maternity leave are entitled to their basic pay plus normal fixed allowances less any maternity benefit to
which they may be entitled on foot of their social welfare contributions. (This does not include additional amounts due to
nightwork, overtime, shiftwork, working unsociable hours, and stand-by or on-call allowances.)
Employees are required to make the necessary claims for maternity benefit to the Department of Social Protection within the
required time limits and to comply with whatever requirements are laid down by that Department as a condition of claiming
Employees are also obliged to do the following:
Notify the HSE of the actual amount of Maternity benefit they are in receipt of
Notify the HSE of any subsequent revisions to that amount.
The HSE is not liable for any loss that an employee incurs as a result of their failure to comply with the rules governing the
granting of maternity benefit as set out by the Department of Social Protection.
Travel outside of the State
As per the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection information on Maternity Benefit and the rules around
Payment Abroad, EU citizens (and citizens of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland) can get Maternity Benefit for any
period of their maternity leave spent in another EU country (or in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland). EU and non
EU citizens can holiday abroad and get Maternity Benefit for a maximum of 6 weeks while away. To get Maternity Benefit while
abroad, you need to inform DEASP Maternity Benefit section of your intended absence.
Ante-Natal and Post-Natal Medical Care
An employee is entitled to time off work without loss of pay to attend ante-natal and post-natal medical visits. Time off
includes the time required to travel to and from the appointment. The employee must notify her employer in writing of the date
and time of the appointment as soon as is practicable and in any event not later than two weeks before the date of the