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.)
From 1st May 2013, maternity leave in lieu has been cut to the minimum in line with the requirements of the Organisation of Working Time Act. This follows a decision made in Budget 2013.
A teacher’s entitlement to 20 days annual leave plus public holidays is not affected by her absence on maternity leave. However, leave in lieu must be taken on existing school closure days, either before and/or after her maternity leave, in the leave year in question (1st September to 31st August). If in a leave year, a teacher on maternity leave has reached the statutory minimum of 20 days annual leave and any Public Holiday entitlements (due to school closures/holidays), either before and/or after her maternity leave, then she has achieved her statutory entitlements and there is no leave in lieu accruing. In a leave year, where a teacher’s maternity leave does not give her 20 days annual leave plus Public Holidays accrued, teachers may either: (i) Take the extra days due immediately before the commencement of her maternity leave. (ii) Carry the days forward to the following year but they must be taken during school closures.
The sequencing arrangement for maternity leave effective from 1st May 2013 are:
Maternity leave (first 26 weeks – statutory leave)
Any statutory unpaid maternity leave (maximum 16 weeks)
Non-Statutory additional unpaid maternity leave to end of school year (to Aug 31st)
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