Know your rights: Parent’s leave

I am due to have a baby in three months and have arranged to take maternity leave. Am I entitled to any more paid leave to look after the baby?

Parent’s leave is a statutory entitlement for parents that allows each parent 5 weeks paid leave for a child born or adopted on or after 1 November 2019.  It aims to let working parents spend more time with their child.

It must be taken within 2 years of the birth of a child or in the case of adoption, from the date of placement of the child. If you have enough PRSI contributions, you get a weekly Parent’s Benefit payment of €245 from the Department of Social Protection during parent’s leave.

You can take parent’s leave in one 5-week block or in 5 one-week periods.You can visit citizensinformation.ie to find more about parent’s leave.

Parent’s leave is different to parental leave. Parental leave is unpaid and can be taken up until the child’s 12th birthday.

Summary of leave available for parents

Leave Who gets it? How long? Is it paid?
Maternity leave Female employees   26 weeks and up to 16 unpaid weeks Yes, Maternity Benefit is paid for 26 weeks
Adoptive leave One parent of an adopting couple or a parent adopting alone. 24 weeks and up to 16 unpaid weeks Yes, Adoptive Benefit is paid for 24 weeks
Paternity leave A parent of a child under 6 months of age (usually the father or partner of the mother, or in the case of adoption, the parent who is not taking adoptive leave) 2 weeks Yes, Paternity Benefit is paid for 2 weeks
Parental leave Parents and guardians of children under 12 26 weeks No, it’s unpaid
Parent’s leave Parents of children under 2 years of age (or in first 2 years of adoption placement) 5 weeks Yes, Parent’s Benefit can be paid for 5 weeks

You can read more about family leave and benefit on citizensinformation.ie


During COVID-19, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo.

You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.

Know your rights: School Transport Scheme

My daughter is starting secondary school in September and we live 5 kilometres from her school. Am I eligible for the School Transport Scheme?

You may qualify for the School Transport Scheme. The scheme provides subsidised school transport for both post-primary and primary pupils. Bus Éireann runs the school bus service and the Department of Education decides the annual fares.

The service is only provided where there are at least 10 eligible pupils in a distinct locality that can be economically serviced by a bus route. Even when a pupil meets the age and distance criteria for school transport, there is no legal entitlement to it.

Your daughter is eligible for the Post-Primary School Transport Scheme if she is attending her nearest school and lives 4.8 kilometres or more from the school. The Department and Bus Éireann determine the appropriate nearest school with regard to ethos and language.

Parents must arrange to bring their child to the nearest pick-up point on the bus route. Generally, bus routes are organised so that no pupil has more than 3.2 kilometres to travel to a pick-up point.

There is a single annual charge of €350 per pupil. However, a family does not pay more than €650 per year. In 2021, the charge is due to be paid in full by the end of July or else in 2 instalments: by the end of July and by 26 November. Pupils who are eligible for school transport and who hold a valid medical card are entitled to free school transport to the nearest school.

Since your child is enrolling in post-primary school for the first time, you should either apply for school transport online or download the form on Bus Éireann’s website. Applications are now being accepted for the 2021-2022 school year. Applications for the school transport scheme 2021-2022 close on Friday, 30 April 2021.

You can read more about the School Transport Scheme on citizensinformation.ie.


During COVID-19, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo.

You can also get information and advice from:

  • The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
  • Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

You can continue to contact your local centre by email or phone using the details in the Find a Centre page on citizensinformation.ie.