Maternity leave consists of 26 weeks leave and an optional 16 weeks unpaid leave.
Credits while you are getting Maternity Benefit
If you are in insurable employment and are awarded Maternity Benefit from the Department of Social Protection, credits will be automatically added to your record for the period Benefit is paid to you (up to a maximum of 26 weeks).
Credits while you are on unpaid Maternity Leave
If you choose to take any additional unpaid leave, you must apply to Maternity Benefit Section to have credits added to your record for the period of this unpaid leave (up to a maximum of 16 weeks) after you return to work.
Under the terms of the Maternity Protection Act, 1994, if you are in insurable employment, an employment contribution may be credited to your record for each week that you take additional unpaid maternity leave (up to a maximum of 16 weeks). This makes sure that your cover for social welfare benefits is kept up to date.In order to have credits added to your record for the period of your unpaid leave, you must get
your employer to complete the application form for Maternity Leave Credits on page 23 after you return to work only.
Please note that this period of unpaid maternity leave must be taken immediately after the end of your 26 weeks’ paid Maternity Benefit.
Am I still entitled to maternity leave credits even if I am not entitled to Maternity Benefit?
If you are not entitled to Maternity Benefit from the Department of Social Protection, but you take maternity leave from your employment, you will be entitled to have
credits added to your record for the period of your maternity leave.
In this case, you must provide written confirmation from your employer of the periods of maternity leave for which you wish to apply for credit, after you return to work only (this applies up to a maximum of 42 weeks – 26 weeks maternity leave plus an additional unpaid maternity leave allowance of up to 16 weeks).
Send the completed application/employer letter to:
Maternity Benefit Section
Department of Social Protection
Mc Carter’s Road
Telephone: (01) 471 5898
LoCall: 1890 690 690
If you are calling from outside the Republic of Ireland please call +353 1 471 5898.