Connect with us


KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Entitlement to Maternity Leave and Maternity Benefit




How much Maternity Leave can I take from work?

As an employee, you have the right to take 26 weeks’ Maternity Leave if you become pregnant. You also have the right to take up to 16 weeks’ additional Maternity Leave. It does not matter how long you have been working for your employer. You must take at least two weeks’ Maternity Leave before your baby is due, and at least four weeks after the baby is born.

How do I apply for Maternity Leave?

You should apply to your employer in writing at least four weeks before you want to start Maternity Leave and you must provide a medical certificate confirming your pregnancy. You must also give at least four weeks’ written notice if you want to take the 16 weeks’ additional Maternity Leave. You can give both these notices at the same time.

Will my employer pay me while I am on Maternity Leave?

There is no obligation on employers to pay you while you are on Maternity Leave. However, some employers will continue to pay an employee, in full, while she is on Maternity Leave and require her to have any Maternity Benefit paid to them. You should check your contract of employment to see what applies to you.

Who is entitled to receive Maternity Benefit?

Maternity Benefit is paid by the Department of Social Protection to women who are on Maternity Leave from work and have a certain number of paid PRSI contributions on their social insurance record. They must be in insurable employment up to the first day of their Maternity Leave. The PRSI contributions can be from both employment or self-employment. You should check with your local Citizens Information Centre to see if you meet the PRSI requirements.

What is the current rate of Maternity Benefit?

The Maternity Benefit rate in 2022 is €250 per week. Maternity Benefit is paid directly into your bank or building society account (a current or deposit account, not a mortgage account) or you can choose to have it paid directly into your employer's bank account. Payment is made each week in advance.

How do I apply for Maternity Benefit?

You can apply for Maternity Benefit online at To apply online you must have a Public Services Card (linked to your mobile phone number) and a verified MyGovID account. Alternatively, you can fill in a Maternity Benefit application form and send it to the Maternity Benefit section of the Department of Social Protection. You can get a form from your local Social Welfare office or Citizens Information Centre.

When should I apply for Maternity Benefit?

You should apply for the payment at least six weeks before you intend to go on Maternity Leave (12 weeks if you are self-employed). If you are already on certain Social Welfare payments then you may get half-rate Maternity Benefit.

How long is Maternity Benefit paid?

Maternity Benefit is paid for 26 weeks (156 days). Maternity Benefit is a six-day week payment which covers Monday to Saturday. Sunday is not treated as a day of entitlement to Maternity Benefit. At least two weeks and not more than 16 weeks of leave must be taken before the end of the week in which your baby is due. To ensure you take the minimum two-week period of Maternity Leave before the birth of your baby, you must start your Maternity Leave on the Monday before the week in which your baby is due. For example, if your due date is Wednesday 12 October 2022, the latest date for the start of your Maternity Leave is Monday 3 October 2022.

What is the situation if I take additional unpaid Maternity Leave?

You can take a further 16 weeks of unpaid Maternity Leave which must be taken immediately after the end of your 26 weeks’ paid Maternity Benefit. This period is not covered by Maternity Benefit but you will be entitled to a credited social insurance contribution for each week of unpaid leave you take (up to the maximum of 16).

Must I give notice to my employer about returning to work?

You must give your employer at least four weeks’ written notice that you intend to return to work. If you do not comply with these notice requirements, you may lose your rights.

Is there any payment for fathers?

Paternity Benefit is a payment for employed and self-employed people who are on Paternity Leave from work and covered by social insurance (PRSI). It is paid for two weeks and is available for any child born or adopted on or after 1 September 2016. You can start Paternity Leave at any time within the first six months following the birth or adoption placement.

If you need further information about any of the issues mentioned above or you have other questions, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information Service in Kerry on 0818 07 7860. The telephone lines are staffed from 10am - 4pm from Monday to Friday. The National Phone Service is available on 0818 07 4000 Monday to Friday 9am – 8pm. Alternatively, you can email on or log on to



Fossa School says ‘bonjour’ to French classes



Fossa National School is giving its pupils a headstart in learning a new language.

The school signed up to Language Sampler scheme as part of the ‘Say Yes to Languages’ initiative in primary schools organised by Post Primary languages Ireland in 2021. This is the school’s third year running the module.

Hélène Olivier-Courtney, the school’s French teacher and director of French For All Killarney School of French, covers ten schools in Kerry over the three terms.

The success of the initiative relies on an all-school approach and the active involvement of class teachers and management.

“The whole staff in Fossa certainly helped make this new journey a special and enjoyable experience for the children as we learnt French through art, songs, games and food tasting! This year, we also organised a catwalk on our last day. Our sixth-class students will have such a head start before secondary school and most importantly will have develop curiosity interest and love for the language,” said Hélène.


Continue Reading


Opinion: Silent majority needs to stand up and call out far-right hate



By Chris Davies

Last Friday’s Dublin Riots should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It has been bubbling under the surface of Irish society for a good number of years now. The actions of a small minority last week was a culmination of years of racism, hatred and misinformation shared online by far-right groups.

Late on Friday night a disturbing WhatsApp voice note was doing the rounds on social media where a far-right actor could clearly be heard encouraging violence on the streets of Dublin. 

“’Seven o’clock, be in town. Everyone bally up, tool up…Any foreigner, just kill them”

Watching the Riots unfold on social media brought me back to when I was working in Dublin a number of years back. My morning commute from Skerries to the city centre involved a dart to Connolly Station followed by a short trip on the Luas to the Jervis. Every week, without fail, I would witness at least one racial slur or attack on someone who didn’t fit the narrow minded view of what an Irish person should look, dress or talk like. I don’t know if it is the eerie silence of public transport that seems to amplify the situation, but that’s where I found it to be most common. The abuse was usually perpetrated by a group of youths or someone who was clearly under the influence of drink or drugs. The victims were always of colour, often dressed smartly enough to presume they were on their way, or coming from work. A far cry from the perpetrators who you could tell were roaming aimlessly around the city looking for trouble.

While shameful to admit, I would often look on and watch the abuse unfold, only to spend the rest of my work day thinking about the poor person who was told to “F*&K off back to your own country”. I would sit at my desk questioning why I didn’t step in and say something. There were one or two occasions where I did step in and call it out, but not nearly often enough.  

This disgusting behaviour is much more visible in our cities. Since moving back to Killarney I wouldn’t witness as much direct abuse on the streets but working with the Killarney Advertiser I would be tuned in to local news and some of the comments I read on our social platforms are far worse than anything I witnessed during my time in Dublin.  

There is a significant group of people in Ireland that I would call the ‘silent majority’. We are not as outspoken on issues we care about. We tend to observe and consume the news quietly, and only speak of our support or disgust on certain issues in close circles, too afraid we might offend someone. The problem with this is that we are leaving these far-right groups unchallenged, to become louder, more aggressive and more hostile as seen last week. 

The past week Sinn Fein and the Social Democrats have been busy in the media expressing no confidence in Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris but I would suggest that there is a large percentage of the Irish population that bears some of the responsibility. We witness racism in our communities and online every day and we need to start speaking up and calling it out. 

On the issue of immigration in Killarney, there is no doubt resources are being stretched and our tourism industry is suffering as a result of an influx of immigration. Locals have also raised concerns in relation to the placement of so many male international protection applicants in one setting and we only have to look back on the incident in Hotel Killarney last year where a number of men were involved in a harrowing stabbing incident to see how that played out.  

However, being concerned around immigration is not the same as anti-immigration. It is important to raise these issues with local representatives and Kerry TD’s but also to separate ourselves from far-right groups who are only interested in encouraging violence.  

The anarchy we witnessed last week should never be the answer and research shows it is completely unnecessary. Harvard University have looked at hundreds of protests over the last century, and found that non-violent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns and that it only takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.

Let’s continue to protest peacefully for issues we believe in, but stand up and speak out against people and movements in our community that incite hate and violence. 

Continue Reading

Last News