Understanding Maternity Benefit

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Maternity Benefit is a payment for employed and self-employed people who are: Understanding Maternity Benefit

  • On maternity leave from work
  • Covered by social insurance (PRSI)

If you are eligible for full-rate Maternity Benefit, you will receive €274 a week for 26 weeks (156 days). If you already receive certain social welfare payments, you may get half-rate Maternity Benefit, which is €137 per week.

How to Qualify

Social insurance (PRSI) contributions

To qualify for Maternity Benefit, you must have:

  • At least 39 weeks of PRSI paid in the 12 months before your first day of maternity leave OR
  • At least 39 weeks of PRSI paid since starting work and at least 39 weeks of PRSI paid or credited in the Relevant Tax Year or in the year following the Relevant Tax Year OR
  • At least 26 weeks of PRSI paid in the Relevant Tax Year and at least 26 weeks of PRSI paid in the Tax Year prior to the Relevant Tax Year

(Note: PRSI contributions paid at Classes A, E, and H count.)

If you were in insurable self-employment before starting insurable employment as an employee and have Class S PRSI contributions, these may help you qualify for Maternity Benefit.

If you are a member of the Defence Forces and you pay PRSI at Class H, you are insured for Maternity Benefit, but it is not payable while you are in service.

Certification if you are an employee

Your employer must certify your maternity leave.

  1. Ask your doctor for a certificate confirming when your baby is due.
  2. Give this certificate to your employer.
  3. Your employer will fill in an MB2: Employer Certificate for Maternity Benefit and give it to you.
  4. When you apply for Maternity Benefit, include the MB2 certificate from your employer.

Important Dates for Maternity Leave

  • You must start your maternity leave before your baby is due.
  • You must start your leave at least two weeks before the end of the week in which your baby is due.
  • At a minimum, you must begin your maternity leave on the Monday before the week your baby is due.
  • If your contract of employment ends within 16 weeks of the end of the week in which your baby is due, you will be paid Maternity Benefit from the day after your last day’s work.

When your paid Maternity Benefit ends, you can take up to 16 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. You won’t be paid for this, but you’ll get a social insurance (PRSI) credit for each week of unpaid leave you take. If you wish to claim Maternity Benefit credit, click here.

Understanding Maternity Benefit

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