Click here for frequently asked questions on maternity leave
In Budget 2013 it was announed that arrangements for maternity and adoptive leave-in-lieu (up to 30 days) that currently apply to teachers are to be ended. Any days in lieu accumulated up to April 30th 2013 will be granted in the normal manner but from May1st 2013 onwards, no additional days in lieu will be accrued. The statutory 26 weeks paid maternity leave (24 weeks paid adoptive leave) and the 16 weeks unpaid leave that applies to all workers is unaffected.
When the maternity leave changes were announced TUI officials immediately expressed their concerns directly to the Department of Education and Skills (DES). This is a cross-union issue and as of December TUI is engaging with the other teachers unions as a matter of urgency. TUI will work to ensure that women teachers are no worse off with regard to maternity leave than women in other public service posts and will keep members updated.
Maternity leave will consist of 26 consecutive weeks on full pay less any social welfare allowance payable on foot of a n employee’s social insurance. This paid leave is available to all permanent whole-time employees and to temporary whole-time and pro-rata employees.
An employee who intends going on maternity leave should submit, through the management authority of her school, a medical certificate confirming pregnancy and stating the expected week of confinement. The certificate must be submitted 4 weeks before she intends to go on maternity leave. A minimum period of maternity leave must be taken, beginning not later than two weeks before the end of the expected week of confinement, and ending not earlier than four weeks after the end of the expected week of confinement.
At the end of maternity leave, an employee will be given the option of:
(a) up to 16 additional weeks without pay, or
(b) leave of absence without pay, to the end of the academic year, subject to discretion of the managerial authority concerned. (For this purpose the end of the school year is the end of August.)
The sequencing arrangement for maternity leave are:
- Maternity leave (first 26 weeks – statutory leave)
- Additional unpaid maternity leave (maximum 16 weeks – statutory leave)
- Additional leave in lieu in respect of unpaid statutory maternity leave
Time off may be allowed for attendance at ante-natal and post-natal clinics. Evidence of appointment or attendance at the clinic will be required by the school authority.
Maternity leave will be granted irrespective of an employee’s sick leave record and will not reckon as sick leave. Sick leave following maternity leave will be allowed only if the school authority is satisfied that the employee intends to return to her position when fit to do so.
A teacher/lecturer on maternity leave will be paid full salary by the Department of Education provided she:
(i) signs a mandate authorising the Department of Social & Family Affairs to pay any benefits due directly to the Department of Education.
(ii) makes the necessary claims for social welfare payments under the required time limits.
(iii) complies with whatever requirements are laid down by the Department of Social & Family Affairs
The comprehensive Circular Letter 09/2013 Maternity Protection entitlements for registered Teachers in recognised Primary and Post Primary Schools supersedes all previous circulars, memoranda, rules and regulations in relation to Maternity Protection Entitlements.
Maternity Leave FAQ
This FAQ seeks to answer the most common queries posed to TUI head office on the issue of maternity leave for post-primary teachers. For further information on the scheme, see circular letter 11/2011.
How much maternity leave am I entitled to?
Teachers and lecturers are entitled to 26 weeks’ maternity leave and up to 16 weeks’ additional unpaid maternity leave. In both cases, this should be applied for at least 6 weeks in advance of commencement of the leave.
When can I take the leave?
Maternity leave will ordinarily begin on such day as the pregnant teacher selects, unless medically certified that the leave should commence on a particular date. However, the commencement date must be no earlier than 22 weeks and no less than 2 weeks before the end of the week of the baby’s expected birth.
What if the birth is early or late?
If the birth occurs in a week before a teacher has commenced her maternity leave then the maternity leave must commence immediately and the employer must be informed as soon as is practicable.
If the birth occurs after the expected date and there are less than 4 weeks of maternity leave remaining, then the employer must be informed and the maternity leave will be extended to ensure that 4 weeks maternity leave are taken following the birth.
Am I entitled to time off for ante-natal care appointments or classes or post-natal care appointments?
Pregnant teachers are entitled to time off work, without loss of pay, to:
(a) attend medical appointments related to ante-natal care,
(b) attend one set of ante-natal classes in a working career, other than the last 3 classes in such a set, and
(c) attend medical appointments related to post-natal care within 14 weeks of the birth
Two weeks’ notice should be given for each absence referred to above.
Is there an entitlement to pregnancy-related sick leave?
A pregnant teacher may qualify for pregnancy-related sick leave. A period of pregnancy-related sick leave will not be counted in determining a teacher’s entitlement to paid sick leave. This amendment to the sick leave arrangements applies only to pregnancy-related sick leave during pregnancy. See article 14 of the attached circular letter for full details
I am employed on a fixed-term or fixed-purpose contract of employment. What are my maternity leave entitlements?
A teacher who is on a fixed-term/fixed-purpose contract of employment shall have full maternity leave entitlements during the term of the contract. The granting or taking of maternity leave entitlements should not affect a fixed-term/fixed-purpose appointment or the renewing of such an appointment. Maternity-related entitlements shall cease on expiry of the contract unless that contract is followed directly by a ‘back-to-back’ contract in an approved teaching post funded by monies provided by the Oireachtas.