An employer’s guide to paternity leave

Read BrightHR’s advice for supporting the new parents on your team, learn the rules on statutory paternity leave, and make sure you comply with the latest employment law…

First published on Monday, Jul 10, 2023

Last updated on Wednesday, Jul 05, 2023

3 min read

Read BrightHR’s advice for supporting new parents on your team, learn the rules on statutory paternity leave, and make sure you comply with the latest employment law…

Starting a family is an exciting time filled with change. Supporting your staff through the early stages of parenthood is not only your legal responsibility but will help you maintain positive working relationships and keep your staff engaged.

So, what rules do you need to follow for new parents?

Let’s start with eligibility...

Eligibility for paternity leave

Your employee is entitled to paternity leave if they are:

  • The father of the child.
  • The partner (spouse, civil partner or cohabitant) of the mother of the child.
  • The parent of a donor-conceived child.
  • The parent who is not the ‘qualifying adopter’ for adoptive leave.

Bear in mind, employees must give you notice of their intention to take paternity leave. They should do this at least four weeks before the date they intend to start paternity leave and confirm the details in writing.

So, now you know who is entitled to Paternity leave but how long will your employees be off for?

Paternity leave entitlement

Paternity leave in Ireland is for a maximum of 2 weeks and can only be taken anytime within 26 weeks of the date of the child’s birth or adoption.

Uptake of paternity leave is thought to be as low as 40% or as high as 60% depending on the measure used.

This might be a case of new fathers not knowing how much they’re entitled to or the rules on when they can take leave. Because of this, it’s important to be as supportive as you possibly can, offer accurate and informative policies to guide your staff and encourage a work culture that embraces the full range of parental and family-friendly leaves.

Returning to work after paternity leave

Coming back from any kind of leave is daunting. We’ve all been there, even after one week’s holiday—it can be nerve-wracking to pick up where you left off!

To make the transition as easy as possible for your staff you may want to consider accommodations to help them acclimatise to their new dual role as a working parent.

For example, doing everything you can to adjust your employee’s schedule, such as hybrid or flexible working, or offering term-time working options, can help improve their work and home life balance. And not only will this support their own workload management, but it will help their ability to get back up and running smoothly again after leave.

Looking for more in-depth paternity leave advice? Talk to our experts

Our expert employment law specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your questions—even the complex ones! Plus, as BrightAdvice is unlimited, you can call as many times as you like.

Speak to your BrightAdvice team today on 1800 279 841.

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