Changes to Maternity Benefit and Maternity Leave

Changes announced in December 2017 will take effect from 1 October 2017, where Maternity Benefit is payable for an extra period after the end of the normal 26 weeks maternity leave in the event of a premature birth. Maternity Leave is also extended for this extra period. The extension corresponds to the time period between the baby’s actual birth date and the expected start date of Maternity Leave and Maternity Benefit.

In order to claim this additional time for your leave and benefits there are a few steps that need to be taken:

  1. Send the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection either a copy of your baby’s birth certificate or a letter from the hospital confirming the baby’s actual date of birth (which must be on or after 1 October 2017).
  2. In order to claim the extra Maternity Benefit, send the Department a letter from the hospital confirming the actual date of birth and the number of weeks’ gestation at which your baby was born, before the end of the first 26 weeks of Maternity Benefit. This information is required in order to ensure that you get your full entitlement. If you wish, you can provide all this information in your initial letter to the Department.

Obviously, it will be important to notify the employer of the additional leave that will be required, and entitlement to annual leave and public holiday leave will continue to accrue during this additional time.