Parental Leave

Parental Leave Policy


1. It is the policy of the University to comply with all requirements under the Parental Leave Act 1998 as amended by the Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2006, the European Union (Parental Leave) Regulations 2013 and the Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019


2. University College Cork employees under a contract of employment are entitled to parental leave, which is unpaid leave from work to look after their young children. An employee must have at least one (1) year's continuous service with University College Cork before being entitled to take parental leave.


3. Parental Leave is unpaid leave for 26 weeks per qualifying child (since 1 September 2020) which can be taken in one continuous period or in 2 separate blocks of a minimum of six weeks. There must be a gap of at least 10 weeks between the 2 periods of parental leave per child.

4. Subject to the University’s agreement, a combination of lesser periods of leave, not to exceed the overall period of 26 weeks, may be taken. Leave, by agreement with the relevant Head of Department/Manager/Supervisor, may be broken up over a period of time, into individual days or weeks.

5. In the case where the employee has more than 3 months service but less than one (1) year's continuous service, and where the child is approaching the age threshold, the employee will be entitled to one (1) week's leave for each month of continuous employment completed with the employer

6. In circumstances where, on the latest day for commencing a period of parental leave, the employee has more than three months, but less than one year's continuous service, the employee shall be entitled to parental leave at the rate of one week for each month of continuous service which the officer has completed at the time of commencement of the leave.

7. Part‐time employees are entitled to parental leave on a pro‐rata basis.


8. Leave can be taken in respect of a child up to thirteen (13) years of age (from 1st January 2015).

9. In the case of a child with a disability or long-term illness, leave may be taken up to sixteen (16) years of age. This provision of a child with a disability applies to a child in respect of whom a Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) is payable, or would be payable if the child satisfied the means test for the DCA. Further details relating to the DCA are available from Health Boards 

10. Where the employee qualifies for parental leave for more than one child, the employee may not take more than twenty six (26) weeks parental leave in any twelve (12) month period, unless the relevant Head of Department/Manager/Supervisor agrees otherwise. This restriction does not apply in the case of children of multiple births (i.e. twins, triplets, etc.).

10. University College Cork will suspend a period of probation, training or apprenticeship while an employee is on parental leave.

11. An employee on parental leave is deemed for all purposes, other than the right to remuneration and superannuation benefits, to be in employment. The absence will, therefore, count as service and will reckon for incremental purposes and for qualifying service for annual leave and promotion.

12. An employee must use his/her parental leave to take care of the child concerned. University College Cork may terminate the leave if it has reasonable grounds to believe that the leave is being used for a purpose other than taking care of the child concerned. However, before terminating the leave, University College Cork will notify the employee, in writing, of the intention to do so, and the employee will be invited to make representation in the matter within seven (7) days.

13. If the parent becomes ill while on parental leave and is unable to care for the child, the leave can be suspended for the duration of the illness. In order to suspend the parental leave, the employee must give written notice and relevant evidence of the illness to the employer as soon as is reasonably practicable. The parental leave resumes after the illness. During the illness the parent is treated as an employee who is sick.

14. An employee is entitled to return to work in University College Cork at the end of a period of parental leave in the job held immediately prior to the leave and under the same contract, terms and conditions of employment.

15. Effective 8th March 2013, the employee has the right to request a change in working hours or pattern for a set period of time following their return to work from parental leave. The Head of Department/Manager/Supervisor is required to consider the request, but not obliged to grant it.

16. Both parents have an equal separate entitlement to parental leave. Unless you and your partner work for the same employer, you can only claim your own parental leave entitlement (26 weeks per child). If you both work for the same employer and your employer agrees, 14 of the 26 weeks parental leave can be transferred from one parent to the other (i.e. 12 weeks parental leave must be non‐transferable between parents).

17. The employee will automatically receive payment for any public holidays that fall during the period of parental leave.

18. An employee is entitled to credited PRSI contributions from the Department of Social Protection; this will preserve their record for social insurance purposes. Staff should contact the Department of Social Protection to ensure that appropriate credits are made.


19. An employee must give written notice to their relevant Head of Department of their intention to take parental leave no later than six (6) weeks before the proposed commencement of the leave. For practical reasons, it is desirable that employees provide as much notice as possible so that appropriate arrangements can be made, vis‐à‐vis, workload distribution.

20. Employees are required to submit a copy of the original relevant birth certificate or adoption order, with the completed application form, to the Head of Department.

21. The Head of Department must sign the application form no later than four (4) weeks before the parental leave is to commence.

22. Once both parties have signed the application form, it cannot be altered unless both parties agree. An employee may revoke, in writing, his/her notice of intention to take parental leave at any time before the document is signed.

23. The Parental Leave Application Form must be submitted to the Department of Human Resources and Organisational Development no later than four (4) weeks prior to the commencement of the Parental Leave.

24. The relevant Head of Department/Manager/Supervisor may decide to postpone the parental leave for up to six (6) months, if granting the leave would have a substantial adverse effect on the operations of the University.

25. The Head of Department/Manager/Supervisor will inform the employee of the postponement, in writing, no later than four (4) weeks before the postponement. Parental leave cannot be postponed once both parties have signed the application form, unless both parties agree to its postponement.

26. UCC management may refuse, in writing, to grant parental leave, if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the employee is not entitled to same. The employee is permitted to make representation on the matter within seven (7) days of the refusal.


Human Resources

Acmhainní Daonna

Ground Floor, Block E, Food Science Building, UCC