The Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016 introduced statutory paternity leave together with Paternity Benefit.
The legislation provides for new parents (other than the mother of the child) to take Paternity leave and Paternity Benefit any time within the first 26 weeks following the birth or adoption of a child. This Act only applies to births or adoptions on or after 1st September 2016.
The entitlement to 2 weeks’ paternity leave from employment extends to all employees (including casual workers), regardless of how long you have been working for the organisation or the number of hours worked per week. If more than one child is born or adopted at the same time, for example, twins, you are only entitled to a single period of 2 weeks’ paternity leave.
The Paternity leave will be paid at a rate of €230 per week and will be based on the same PRSI contribution requirements as Maternity Benefit. The PRSI classes that count for Paternity Benefit are A,E H and S.
Paternity leave is reckonable service for the purposes of annual leave and public holiday entitlements. An absence on paternity leave does not break continuity of service.
You should apply for the benefit 4 weeks before you intend to go on paternity leave or 12 weeks if you are self-employed. You must notify your employer that you intend to take paternity leave and your intended dates no later than 4 weeks before your leave. You must also provide proof of the expected date of birth of your child.
Ensure that you are in a position to make your application online at www.mywelfare.ie. This means getting a Public Service Card (if you do not already have one) and registering with the MyWelfare service.
If you are employed, your employer must complete a form to certify that you are entitled to Paternity Leave for the dates provided. A form PB 2: Employer Certificate, (employee / PAYE applicant) is available for this purpose.
A decision on your claim and all correspondence relating to your claim will issue by e-mail to your ‘MyWelfare’ account.
Employers are not obliged to pay employees who are on Paternity Leave, the entitlement to pay and superannuation during Paternity Leave depends on the terms stated in the contract of employment.
Employers must keep records of Paternity Leave taken by their employees for 8 years, the records must include the period of employment of each employee and the dates and times of the leave taken.
Under the Act, employees are entitled to return to work to the same job with the same contract of employment. If this is not reasonably practical then the employee must be provided with suitable alternative work. The terms of the alternative employment must not be less favourable to the employee than the terms of his original job.
Qualified adult or qualified child
If you have dependants, the Department compares the rate of Paternity Benefit to the rate of Illness Benefit that you would get if you were absent from work through illness. The Department will check this for you and you will get the higher of the two rates
Although the Illness Benefit rate begins from a lower base amount of €188 (maximum personal rate), it then also takes into account extra payments for your spouse, cohabitant or civil partner and children. This is why, depending on the circumstances of your spouse and how many children you have, your rate of Paternity Benefit may be greater than the personal rate to which you would have otherwise been entitled.
Taxation of Paternity Benefit
Paternity Benefit (including any increases for adult and child dependents) is reckonable for income tax purposes. This Department pays Paternity Benefit directly to recipients without any deduction for tax. To assist in the taxation of Paternity Benefit, this Department will notify the Office of the Revenue Commissioners of the taxable amount of Paternity Benefit to be taken into account for income tax purposes.
Paternity Benefit is not subject to PRSI. If you choose to have your Benefit paid to your employer, who then continues to pay your normal weekly wage, you may be entitled to a PRSI refund. You should complete the Refund of PRSI Contributions Application FORM PRSIREF 1, which can be accessed online at www.welfare.ie
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