Paid Leave for Family Illness in Ireland

In Ireland under the Parental Leave Acts 1998 and 2006 , if you have a family crisis you have the right to limited paid leave from work. This is known as force majeure leave. You can take such leave where, for urgent family reasons, your immediate presence is necessary because a close family member is ill or has been injured.

The situation must be so immediately pressing that the attendance of the employee is indispensable. During an absence an employee is regarded as being in the employment of the employer and retains all employment rights and it cannot be classed as any other leave e.g. sick leave or parental leave.

The definition of a close family member includes a child or adopted child, a spouse or partner and a parent or grandparent.  Since 2006  the definition was  extended to include persons in a relationship of domestic dependency. The sexual orientation of the persons concerned is immaterial and includes same sex partners with whom employees have a relationship of domestic dependency.

The maximum amount of leave you can take under this ruling is three days in any 12-month period or five days in a 36-month period – but some employers may grant you further leave.

What should an employee do if faced with a force majeure situation?

As well as dealing with the situation as best as they can, which is the priority, he/she should at the first available opportunity contact the employer and relay what had happened. There is also an obligation on the employee to complete the designated form under the Act as soon as possible after return to work. This form includes the name and address of the ill person, the relationship of that person to the employee, the date of the leave as well as a short statement of the facts. Medical certs for the ill person are not required.

Death :   This cannot be taken following the death of a close family member.   Many employers will grant paid compassionate leave  for a few days .

Further information about force majeure leave is available from the Workplace Relations Commission  on   1890 80 80 90.