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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Entitlement to Maternity Leave and Maternity Benefit

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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 MyWelfare.ie. 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 tralee@citinfo.ie or log on to www.citizensinformation.ie.

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Jessie Buckley’s album shortlisted for prestigious award

Killarney superstar Jessie Buckley has been shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize Album of the Year. Her collaboration with Bernard Butler ‘For All Our Days That Tear the Heart’ is […]

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Killarney superstar Jessie Buckley has been shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize Album of the Year.

Her collaboration with Bernard Butler ‘For All Our Days That Tear the Heart’ is one of 12 albums shortlisted for the prestigious award which will be revealed in London on September 8.

“Neither of us really knew each other and it was actually a blessing in disguise because we met each other in the moment and trusted each other, took a leap of faith and in a way come in just the way we were and not because of who we are,” she told a press conference at the awards announcement in London last week.

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Olga Tkachenko: My resilience in life is the ability to see only the good

Olga Tkachenko and I run five kilometres every Saturday with the Killarney House Parkrun. This fragile and smiling woman always runs easily and beats me every time. It seems that […]

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Olga Tkachenko and I run five kilometres every Saturday with the Killarney House Parkrun.

This fragile and smiling woman always runs easily and beats me every time.

It seems that everything in her life is as easy as jogging.

But this is not quite so.

Olga grew up in Donetsk city, Donbass region. Her sister Maryna and parents lived here. A large and friendly family, they owed a holiday home in the region and would gather there for vacations and holidays. This house was a symbol of this family.

In 2014, Russian troops entered Donetsk and drove their military equipment right into the yard of the house.

From here they started shelling the Donetsk airport.

Soon the house was completely destroyed. All that remains of the house are two walls and a few pots. The family nest was devastated. Her sister Maryna tried to save the surviving property and came under fire. Fortunately, she was not injured.

Olga moved her parents to another place, and she went to Kyiv with her husband and children. All they took with them were two laptops and a few warm things. Life had to start from scratch.

Olga’s sister Maryna moved to Dnipro city, where she found a new job.

The sisters went their separate ways, but still maintained a very close relationship, calling and supporting each other every day.

Maryna’s husband and Olga’s husband are brothers and share the same last name – Tkachenko.

They have children two months apart. Olga jokes that she and her sister have a topic to talk about – their common father-in-law and mother-in-law.

Having lost their homes in 2014 due to Russia’s military aggression in Donbas, the sisters built their lives in two different cities – Irpen (near Kyiv) and Dnipro. But when the war broke out in 2022, they found themselves together again.

The sisters managed to board an evacuation train bound for Poland. Again, they only had one bag each and a one-way ticket.

“Fear drove us as far as possible. The main goal was to save the children. We did not know where we were going. We wanted to escape as far as possible from the war and the borders of Russia,” says Olga.

After staying in a refugee camp in Poland for several days, they decided to go to Ireland.
Were they worried about going into the unknown?

But Olga says that when she is together with her sister, it gives both women confidence and stability. Together, it’s not so scary anymore.

Olga says that it is impossible to get used to the fact that you lose your home every time and get used to life. It is impossible to accept that everything has to be started from new.

But she has one secret of resilience – the ability to see the good in the circumstances in which you find yourself.

Here in Killarney Olga focuses on the beautiful nature, she learns a new language, and goes jogging. She never regrets.

Olga’s sister Maryna Tkachenko has already found a job and works in as a designer in Killarney. The sisters help each other a lot and are very worried about their parents and grandmother, who remaine in Ukraine.

“Our parents spent a month under the occupation of Russian troops in a village near Kyiv. My 70-year-old mother, as in 2014, went to negotiate with Russian soldiers and persuaded them not to shoot. We are glad that our parents’ house survived this time. Because in 2014 we already lost one home. Our parents would not have survived this a second time,” adds Olga.

That is why she will soon go back to Ukraine.

She explains her motives: “I want to be where I am most needed. My eldest daughter, parents and grandmother are in Ukraine. My daughter works as a volunteer every week, clearing the rubble of buildings, so I want to help my country as well. After dismantling the ruins, we will see our beautiful country again.”

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