Health and Safety Benefit is a weekly payment for employed women who are
pregnant or breastfeeding, and who are granted health and safety leave by their
You are granted health and safety leave from employment if your employer
cannot remove a risk to your health while you are pregnant, or breastfeeding,
or assign you alternative "risk-free" duties. The right to health
and safety leave from employment is set out under Section
18 of the Maternity Protection Act 1994.
To qualify for Health and Safety Benefit, you must meet certain criteria and
social insurance (PRSI) contribution conditions. Your employer pays your normal
wage for the first 21 days (3 weeks) of your health and safety leave and the
Department of Social Protection pays Health and Safety Benefit for the
If you think you have been wrongly refused Health and Safety Benefit you can
During health and safety leave from employment, you are still considered to
be in employment (this means, for example, that you continue to accumulate
annual leave entitlement). However you are not entitled to payment for public
holidays that occur while you are on health and safety leave.
Taxation of Health and Safety Benefit
Health and Safety Benefit is taxable from 1 July 2013 for all claimants.
Health and Safety Benefit is taxed in the same way as Maternity Benefit.
Universal Social Charge and PRSI are not payable. You can read about how
Maternity Benefit is taxed in the document, Taxation
of social welfare payments. You can also get more information from Revenue
of Maternity Benefit.
To get Health and Safety Benefit you must:
- Be a pregnant employee in Ireland who is exposed to certain risks in the
workplace or be a nightworker (that is, you must spend at least 3 hours or
25% of your work between 11pm and 6am) or
- Have given birth in the last 16 weeks and be involved in
- Be breastfeeding (up to 26 weeks after the birth) and exposed to certain
risks in the workplace. The Health and Safety Authority provides full
details of what these risks (pdf) are.
You must also meet the following PRSI conditions:
- Have at least 13 weeks social
insurance (PRSI) paid in the 12 months immediately before the date your
baby is due or
- Have 104 weeks' PRSI paid since you first started work
and 39 weeks' PRSI paid or credited in the relevant tax
year or in the year following the relevant tax year (of which at least 13
must be paid contributions) or
- Have 104 weeks' PRSI paid since you first started work and 26 weeks' PRSI
paid in the relevant tax year and 26 weeks' PRSI paid in the tax year
before the relevant tax year
The relevant tax year is the second last complete tax year before
you claim Health and Safety Benefit. For example, for claims made in 2012 the
relevant tax year is 2010.
How long is Health and Safety Benefit paid?
Health and Safety Benefit lasts until:
- The day you become entitled to Maternity Benefit, if you are pregnant
- 16 weeks from the date on which you gave birth, if you are an employee
who has recently given birth and do nightwork
- 26 weeks from the date on which you gave birth, if you are breastfeeding
You stop getting Health and Safety Benefit if your health and safety leave
- You are no longer at risk in the workplace or
- Your employer has removed the risk or given you other work
- You are employed on a fixed-term contract and that contract expires.
Health and Safety Benefit rates are graduated according to your average weekly
earnings in the relevant tax year.
Weekly payment in 2013
|Earnings per week
||Qualified adult rate
|Less than €150
|€150 - €219.99
|€220 - €299.99
|€300 or more
Payment of Health and Safety Benefit
You will be paid directly into your bank account, or by weekly cheque. You
get a personal rate and may get an increase for an adult
dependant and child
dependant. Your average weekly earnings do not affect the
rate of payment for a child dependant.
Under the Maternity Protection Act 1994, a woman who qualifies for Health and
Safety Benefit is entitled to claim Family Income Supplement (FIS)
How to apply
To get this benefit you must fill in a Health and Safety
Benefit application form (pdf) and send it to the Health and Safety Benefit
Section (see 'Where to apply' below).
You must complete parts 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7.
Your employer must fill in, sign and stamp part 4.
Your GP must fill in, sign and stamp part 8.
Where to apply
Health and Safety Benefit Section
Tel:(01) 471 5898
Locall:1890 690 690