Ireland Leave Laws

In this page, we’ll break down all you need to know about leave laws in Ireland.

Read on to learn about employees’ rights in regards to paid time off/annual leave, sick leave, parental leave, national/public holidays, and more.

This page is intended for reference purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please see official government sources or consult a legal professional for actual legal advice.


Employees in Ireland (including full-time, part-time, temporary and casual workers) are entitled to annual leave.

For most workers, this is four weeks annual leave per year (the leave year in Ireland runs from the 1st of April to the 31st of March).

For part-time workers or those with irregular schedules, annual leave allowance is generally 8% of your time worked.

PTO Payout & Use It or Lose It

Ireland law states that annual leave should be taken within the leave year, though employees can negotiate with their employer to have the redemption period extended, or to allow further carryover of unused leave from year to year.

When an employee leaves their job and has outstanding unused leave, that leave must be paid out to the employee.

Learn more about Use It or Lose It policies here.

Sick Leave in Ireland

As of January 1st 2024, workers in Ireland are entitled to five days’ paid sick leave per year. This is paid at 70% of your normal salary, to a maximum of €110 per day.

This will increase to seven days in 2025, and 10 days in 2026.

Paid sick leave (known as statutory sick pay officially) is available to employees who have been with their worker for at least 13 consecutive weeks.

Ireland Public Holidays

Ireland has 10 public holidays each year.

January 1New Year’s Day
First Monday in February (February 1 if it falls on a Friday)February Holiday
March 17St Patrick’s Day
VariesEaster Monday
First Monday in MayMay Holiday
First Monday in JuneJune Holiday
First Monday in AugustAugust Holiday
Last Monday in OctoberOctober Holiday
December 25Christmas Day
December 26Saint Stephen’s Day

Holidays do not transfer to the next working day if they fall on a weekend. However, if a public holiday falls on an employee’s non-working day, they are still entitled to their public holiday benefit for that day.

Holiday Pay

For a public holiday, most employees are entitled to one of the following benefits:

This is also the case when a public holiday falls on a weekend or an employee’s non-working day.

Parental Leave in Ireland (Maternity Leave & Paternity Leave)

Maternity Leave

Employees are entitled to 26 weeks of maternity leave. Employees must take at least two weeks maternity leave prior to birth, and at least four weeks after birth.

The employee can receive a Maternity Benefit during this time, paid out by social insurance (assuming the employee has contributed to social insurance). Employers do not have to pay for maternity leave.

Employees can take an additional 16 weeks of maternity leave after the initial 26 weeks. Maternity Benefit does not cover this time.

Paternity Leave

Employees are entitled to two weeks of paternity leave, which can be taken any time in the first six months after the child is born.

Paternity leave is also open to same-sex couples, or to anyone who is the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the child’s mother.

Employees may be eligible for Paternity Benefit while on paternity leave, but it is not required to be paid by the employer.

Adoptive Leave

A parent who is adopting a child can take up to 24 weeks’ leave, starting from the date the child is placed in their care. Only one parent in a couple can take adoptive leave.

Adoptive leave may be paid for via social insurance. After the first 24 weeks, the employee can take an additional 16 weeks adoptive leave, which will not be paid.

Parental Leave

Parents can take up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave per child, up until the child’s 12th birthday.

Parental leave is limited to 26 weeks in a 12-month period, in the case that someone has more than one child. One exception is if the parent has twins or triplets.

Bereavement Leave in Ireland

Ireland has compassionate leave, which is the equivalent of bereavement leave, when an employee’s close family member dies.

It is up to the employer, however, as to what employees are entitled to in regards to bereavement/compassionate leave.

What is Bereavement Leave? Click here to learn more.

Other Leave Types

Force Majeure Leave

Employees can take up to three days of paid leave in a 12 month period, or five days in a 36-month period, for a family crisis. This includes urgent family reasons, such as as an unexpected injury or illness of a close family member.

Jury Duty Leave

Employees must be given time off to attend jury duty, and have a right to be paid (as well as not losing any other employment rights) when on jury duty.

Carer’s Leave

Employees have the right to take a temporary leave of absence, while having their job remain open for them, to provide full time care and attention for someone who needs it (this can be a family member, a spouse, a friend or a colleague).

Carer’s leave lasts a minimum of 13 weeks and a maximum of 104 weeks. Carer’s leave is unpaid by the employer, but the employee may be eligible for Carer’s Benefit via social insurance.

Domestic Violence Leave

Employees have a right to up to five days paid domestic violence leave, if they have been the victim of domestic violence or abuse. This can be for: medical visits, legal proceedings, counselling, looking for alternative accommodation or accessing domestic violence services.

Employees may also take domestic violence leave to support a relevant person who has been the victim of domestic violence or abuse, which includes:

Official Resources

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