UNLIKE maternity benefit, the uptake of paternity benefit and parent’s benefit has been low amongst farmers.
This can be put down to society norms and perceptions about traditional gender roles in the farming community.
Obviously, the farm never stops, and it is not always easy to take leave.
Also, it can be hard to find and train a suitable replacement for a short period of time.
However, if it is possible to arrange your entitlement to leave in a period where the farm requirements are not as intense or in a quiet period, then the payment will ease the burden and make it easier to take time off to spend with your child.
Maternity Benefit is a payment made to women who are on maternity leave from work and covered by PRSI. It is paid for 26 weeks at a rate €245 per week.
If you are self-employed you should apply for the payment at least 12 weeks before you intend to go on maternity leave (it is six weeks for PAYE employees).
The benefit is paid by the Department of Social Protection to women who have a certain number of paid PRSI contributions on their social insurance record and who are in insurable employment or self-employed up to the first day of their maternity leave. If you are already on certain social welfare payments, then you may get half-rate Maternity Benefit.
Paternity Benefit is a payment made to employed or self-employed men who take on paternity leave from work and covered by social insurance (PRSI).
It is paid for two weeks at €245 per week, paid directly to your bank account and the two weeks must be taken consecutively.
You can start paternity leave at any time within the first 26 weeks after the birth or adoption.
You should apply for the payment 12 weeks before you intend to go on paternity leave (or four weeks if you are an employee).
You can start paternity leave at any time within the first six months following the birth or adoption placement. If you’re self-employed, a doctor must complete Form PB3 to certify the expected due date of your baby (or the baby’s date of birth).
This is to confirm that you are entitled to paternity leave and must be sent with the application for paternity benefit (Form PB1)
If you are a new father or mother working on a farm in Ireland, you are entitled to take five weeks of Parent’s Leave during the first two years of a child’s life.
In the case of adoption, it is available to be used within two years of the placement of the child with the family.
The leave period remains the same in the case of multiple births, for example if you have twins or if you adopt two or more children at the same time.
With effect from April 2021, the two weeks parent’s leave has increased to five weeks for each parent and the two weeks Parent’s Benefit has increased to five weeks for each parent (if you qualify).
You can take the five weeks of leave at any time in the first two years after the birth (or adoption) of your child, that is five consecutive weeks period or five separate weeks. Parent’s leave is available for children born or adopted after November 1st 2019.
The difference between Parent’s Leave and Paternity Leave is that Parent’s Leave is specifically for parents during the child’s first two years.
However, Paternity Leave is specifically for new parents in their child’s first six months of life.
If you are taking Parent’s Leave you can also apply for Parent’s Benefit.
This is in addition to existing Maternity Benefit and Paternity Benefit. It is paid at a weekly rate of €245.
Online applications are made through MyWelfare.ie or you can request a form from the Department of Social Protection.
It can be claimed by employees and self-employed people, including farmers, while they are on parent’s leave and they have enough PRSI contributions.
If you are self-employed you should apply for Parent’s Benefit six weeks before you intend to take parent’s leave.
You will also need your child’s PPS number to apply for Parent’s Benefit.
If you are already getting a social welfare payment, then you may get half-rate Parent’s Benefit.
If you are an employee, you must notify your employer that you intend to take your Parent’s Leave and of your intended dates, no later than six weeks before your leave begins.
You then apply for Parent’s Benefit at least four weeks before the date you start your parent’s leave.
If you do not have sufficient PRSI contributions and do not qualify for parent’s benefit, you may still qualify for parent’s leave.
• Brian Cooper is an accountant at FDC Accountants in Skibbereen.