Circular 35/95 Maternity Leave, Circular 9/01 Extension of Maternity and Adoptive Leave, Circular 31/06 Implementation of the Regulations of the Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act 2004, Confidential Circular 11/95 Maternity Leave – Information for Personnel Officers, set out the arrangements for civil servants going on maternity leave. At present, maternity leave consists of twenty six weeks paid leave with an option to avail of sixteen weeks unpaid additional maternity leave. In general, a minimum of two weeks maternity leave and up to a maximum of fourteen weeks maternity leave may be taken before the due date of birth.
Officers appointed on or after 6 April 1995 when absent on paid maternity leave, are required to make the necessary claims for maternity benefit to the Department of Social and Family Affairs within the required time limits and to comply with whatever requirements are laid down by that Department as a condition of claiming benefit. Full details of the Department of Social and Family Affairs requirements and conditions for making claims are made available at the time of appointment (Circular 6/95 Revised social insurance status and conditions of service of certain civil servants).
The period of paid maternity leave counts as service in all respects. The period of unpaid additional maternity leave counts as service for promotion, increment, and public holidays but not for remuneration and superannuation purposes.
Please refer to Paragraph 4 of Circular 35 of 1995 Maternity Leave “Pregnant staff are entitled to such paid time off from duty as is necessary for attendance at ante-natal and post-natal clinics“.
A pregnant employee is entitled to paid time off from duty as is necessary for attendance at ante-natal classes. Expectant fathers shall be entitled once only to time off from work, without loss of pay, for the purpose of attending the last two ante-natal classes attended by the expectant mother before the birth of the child. Evidence of appointment or attendance at the clinic will be required.
Breastfeeding mothers are entitled to paid breaks from work (one hour per day), or reduced daily working time (one hour per day) to facilitate breastfeeding or lactation (Circular 31/06 Implementation of the Regulations of the Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act 2004). At present, breastfeeding or lactation breaks may continue until the child is two years of age.
FAQs on the subject of Maternity Leave can be found here