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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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New  bio-energy therapy clinic open on Beech Road

Have you ever wondered what happens when you deal with an emotionally charged situation or experience high levels of stress daily? Your mind sends alarm signals to your body which […]




Have you ever wondered what happens when you deal with an emotionally charged situation or experience high levels of stress daily?

Your mind sends alarm signals to your body which must adapt to this emergency mode.

Muscles tense up, heart beats faster, vessels get compressed, blood pressure rises, body retains water etc. Most of us subject our bodies to this emergency mode without being aware of it.

Irina Sharapova MH has just opened a new Herbal Medicine and Bio-Energy Therapy clinic at Horan’s Health Store on Beech Road by appointment each Friday.

Both Herbal Medicine and Bio-Energy Therapy, support the body’s natural ability to heal.

During a herbal consultation the therapist suggests necessary corrections to the client’s diet and lifestyle aiming at reducing the elements that contribute to inflammation, stiffness and pain, and increasing the elements that aid healing.

Then they prepare herbal remedies specific to the client. Client’s medications are also examined to ensure that there are no conflicts with the herbal treatment.

Herbs support healing by relaxing the body and improving sleep; they are used to treat various ailments from digestive and reproductive issues to insomnia and migraines.

Bio-Energy therapy is a complementary non-contact treatment that helps to release tension from the body caused by injuries, traumas or stress.

During a Bio-Energy session the therapist scans the client’s body for signals that indicate that the energy is not flowing smoothly – these are the areas that have reacted to the Client’s emotions of fear, worry, hurt, anger, sadness etc.

The therapist “clears out” these areas until the energy flow feels smooth. Bio-Energy is helpful in the treatment of physical and emotional pain and other ailments.

It is suitable for people who do not like massages and other treatments that are performed directly on the body.

Disclaimer: Alternative therapies are not substitutes for medical advice.
For further information or to schedule an appointment please contact Irina at 086 9878941 or via email at Website:


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Spotted an otter lately?

Users of Killarney National Park are being asked to keep an eye out for otters – one of the country’s rarest mammals. The National Parks and Wildlife Service IS launching […]



Users of Killarney National Park are being asked to keep an eye out for otters – one of the country’s rarest mammals.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service IS launching a new National Otter Survey and has teamed up with researchers in Queen’s University Belfast and the National Biodiversity Data Centre to collect and collate otter records from right across the country.

The new survey will map otters and compare results to the last survey, carried out in 2010-11.

NPWS teams will be looking for characteristic signs of otters at over 900 sites throughout the country, including rivers, lakes and the coast.

Members of the public are asked to keep their eyes peeled for otters and to get involved in this national survey by adding their sightings to the survey results.

Otters are mostly active at night and most typically seen at dawn or dusk. They may be spotted from bridges swimming in rivers or along the rocky seashore.
Otters are brown, about 80 cm (30 inches) long and can be seen gliding along the water surface before diving to show their distinctive long pointed tail which is almost as long again as their body.

Dr Ferdia Marnell, Mammal Specialist with the NPWS, said:

“The otter is one of Ireland’s most elusive animals so getting as many people involved in the survey as possible will be important if we are to get good coverage. Otters are rarely seen, so instead, over the coming months, NPWS staff will be searching for otter tracks and signs.”

Dr Ferdia Marnell, Mammal Specialist with the NPWS, said:

“Otters have large, webbed feet and leave distinctive footprints, but these can be hard to find. Fortunately, otters mark their territory using droppings known as spraints. Otters deposit spraints conspicuously on boulders along riverbanks, logs on lake shores or the rocky high tide line. Spraints can be up to 10 cm or 3 inches long, black through to white but commonly brown, tarry to powdery in consistency and straight or curved making them tricky to identify. Luckily, they commonly contain fish bones and crayfish shells which are the otters favoured diet making them easy to tell apart from the droppings of birds and other mammals.”

The otter and its habitat are protected under the EU Habitats Directive which requires that Ireland reports on the status of the species every six years. The next report is due in 2025.

The otter suffered significant declines across much of continental Europe during the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s but remained widespread in Ireland. The most recent Irish survey (2010-2011) found signs of otter from all counties of Ireland and from sea-shore to mountain streams.

The otter hunts in water, but spends much of its time on land, and as a result is vulnerable to river corridor management such as culverting, dredging and the clearance of bankside vegetation, as well as pollution, pesticides, oil spillages, coastal developments and road traffic.

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