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B. Key Considerations

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Maternity Leave Entitlement

All female Employees are entitled to avail of up to 26 weeks maternity leave.  Up to 16 weeks additional leave may be taken immediately following maternity leave.

Calculating the Start and Finish Dates of Leave

Leave must commence at least 2 weeks before the end of the expected week of confinement (week during which the Employee is due to give birth).  A minimum of 4 weeks leave must be taken following the birth of the child.  The Employee may choose to avail of the remainder of their leave at their own discretion, before or after the birth, and may determine the date of commencement as suits their own requirements. 

When calculating the actual date of expiry of an Employee’s leave it is important to consider any public holidays falling during the period of leave.  An Employee is entitled to a benefit in respect of a public holiday falling during maternity leave or additional maternity leave.  Therefore, where it is the practice of the Employer to provide a paid day’s leave in respect of a public holiday for Employees, it will be necessary to extend the maternity leave period accordingly. 

For example, an Employee who is on maternity leave over the Christmas period is entitled to a benefit in respect of Christmas Day, St. Stephens Day and New Years Day.  If Employees normally get a paid day’s leave in respect of those public holidays, the person on Maternity leave will be entitled to same. As such, the public holidays should be added to the end of the maternity leave thus pushing out the return to work date by 3 days.