Second Level - Maternity Leave


Click here to download the revised maternity leave circular - February 2013

Maternity leave will consist of 26 consecutive weeks on full pay less any social welfare allowance payable on foot of an 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.)

Changes to time in lieu arrangements
Following Budget 2013, 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.
This is a cross-union issue and 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.


The sequencing arrangement for maternity leave are:

  • Maternity leave (first 26 weeks – statutory leave)
  • Additional unpaid maternity leave (maximum 16 weeks – statutory leave)
  • Leave in lieu (under approved Maternity Leave scheme ) in respect of first 26 weeks
  • 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 11/2011 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.

Am I entitled to extra days for maternity leave that overlap school holidays?
Prior to May 1st 2013, where maternity leave overlaps with planned school closures (Christmas, Easter, Mid term, Summer Break, public holidays and, where appropriate, religious holidays), a teacher shall be entitled to leave in lieu for all such days which overlap, subject to a maximum of 30 working days. School closures which do not form part of the scheduled school holidays (e.g. closures due to inclement weather, polling or other exceptional situations) do not count in accruing leave in lieu or taking leave in lieu. From May 1st 2013 onwards no additional days will be accrued.

My regular maternity leave ends in May or June. How is my subsequent leave in lieu period affected by the State Examinations?
The days of the State Examinations are not regarded as school vacation days. Where the maternity leave in lieu period overlaps with the first 12 days of the State Examinations then leave in lieu must be ‘used up’ – ie the first 12 days of the State Exams are considered ‘working days’.

Can I take the days in lieu accrued before I take my additional unpaid leave?
No. Any additional unpaid maternity leave must be taken directly after the statutory 26 week period. The leave in lieu in respect of the 26 week period is then taken subsequent to this. Full details of this sequencing is set out in article 7 of the circular letter 11/2011 appended to this FAQ.

Much of my maternity leave overlaps with the summer holidays. Am I entitled to more than 30 days in lieu?
No. A standard entitlement of a maximum of 30 days in lieu exists regardless of when the leave falls.

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.

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. Where a fixed-term/fixed-purpose contract has ended and there is no ‘back-to-back’ contract, then any remaining ‘maternity leave in lieu’ which has accrued during the term of the contract qualifies for a ‘payment in lieu’, up to the agreed maximum of 30 days in lieu.

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