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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

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Kerry Airport to get almost €1.5m funding

Kerry Airport is in line for nearly €1.5m in funding under the Regional Airports Programme 2021-2025. All five regional airports in the country will share a total of €21,100,051 released […]




Kerry Airport is in line for nearly €1.5m in funding under the Regional Airports Programme 2021-2025.

All five regional airports in the country will share a total of €21,100,051 released under the scheme.

Kerry Airport will get €1,434,355 to put towards vital safety operations like air traffic control, fire services and security.

The CEO of Kerry Airport, John Mulhern, welcomed the funding.

“We are grateful to Minister Naughton, the Department of Transport and Kerry’s two Government TDs, Minister Norma Foley and Deputy Brendan Griffin for their continued support,” he said.

“The funding will help to ensure that Kerry Airport remains compliant with regulatory requirements in key areas, such as air traffic control, fire services and security.”

Funding this year for airports will total over €37 million building on the €161 million provided in unprecedented aviation supports during 2021.

“I welcome this funding which will deliver further vital financial supports to Kerry Airport with a particular focus on safety, security operations and air traffic control,” Minister Foley said.

“This funding reinforces the importance and value that Government places on the vital role of our regional airports and how connectivity directly supports tourism and enterprise in Kerry.”


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Should they stay or should they go?

Town centre Safe Street programme extended by 12 months to allow full review By Sean Moriarty The temporary closure of Plunkett St to vehicular traffic has been extended by another […]




Town centre Safe Street programme extended by 12 months to allow full review

By Sean Moriarty

The temporary closure of Plunkett St to vehicular traffic has been extended by another 12 months.

The closure was revealed by the Killarney Advertiser last month and this week Kerry County Council has started its public consultation into the closure.

The town centre street was fully pedestrianised to allow food businesses to serve meals outside and to facilitate social distancing during COVID-19.

Other measures included the widening of footpaths on New St and High St.

The current temporary closing of roads order expires on December 31 but will now be extended to the same date next year.

The purpose of this new closure is to examine the success or failure of several measures that were brought in during the pandemic to allow social distancing on the town’s streets.

“This involved the creation of buildouts to accommodate Outdoor Dining and the creation of public realm areas, which the closure of Plunkett Street facilitated. Feedback from businesses in particular has been very positive, allowing enhanced offerings to the public who have also voiced their support for these developments in the town,” said Angela McAllen, Killarney Municipal District Manager, said at the November KMD meeting.

However, Cllr Donal Grady believes that several of these ‘buildouts’ need to be decommissioned as they are not being used for their designated purpose and are taking up car parking spaces in the town centre.

“Any place that is not being utilised needs to be turned back into parking spaces,” he told the Killarney Advertiser this week.

He added that the lack of parking “is driving people out of town”.

Ms McAllen said the Council would look at what areas are being used to their full potential and their future will be decided during the latest closure’s term.

Town centre regeneration is set to commence next year under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF).

“The URDF town centre and street upgrade for Killarney was approved in September to proceed to planning and detailed design stage and allows for the consideration for potential inclusion of some of these measures in the wider development of the town centre,” she added.


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