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Five days of unpaid leave for medical purposes for employees in Ireland

DUBLIN: A new work-life balance law in the country has gone into effect, allowing people to take up to five days of unpaid leave per year to care for family members and those at home who are ill.

The new leave has been implemented to care for seriously ill children or close family members. The new benefit supplements the existing force majeure leave with pay in the event of a close family member’s illness.

The employer does not need to give notice to take this unpaid leave in emergency situations. The law requires that notice be given whenever possible.

What kind of holiday?

You are entitled to 5 days of leave per year for close family service. This is the legal right, but there is no salary.

There is no need to take leave all at once. It can be taken together or on different days.

Who is eligible to apply for this leave?

Child (including an adopted child)
Spouse or civil partner

Someone who is legally residing with you.
A parent or grandparent

Brother or sister
If the householder (any other person listed above living in the same household as you) requires significant care or support for a serious medical reason, you are entitled to this leave.

Your employer will have the authority to request medical evidence for leave.

A doctor-signed medical certificate is required for this. The doctor must issue a statement stating that the person requires extensive care or support due to a serious medical condition. There is no need to go into specifics about the disease.

The Work-Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Act of 2023, which governs medical leave, went into effect on July 3.

The new law also extends the one-hour break for mothers to breastfeed and care for their babies by two years.

Roderic O’Gorman, Minister for Equality, announced the new laws. According to the minister, the new law’s provisions are intended to improve people’s working lives.

While this law is welcome, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions has criticised the lack of unpaid leave. The organisation’s head of social policy and employment affairs, Laura Bambrick, pointed out that the EU proposal included such a recommendation but did not make it mandatory.

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