Leave Entitlements

Leave Entitlements

by SusanBellFlavin

Annual Leave

A member of the Force of Garda rank is entitled to 104 rest days and 34 other free days (annual leave) per year, excluding absences through illness or by way of special leave, e.g. sympathetic leave, transfer leave. A Garda therefore, works 227 days (1,816 hours) (of 8hrs shifts or equivalent) per annum. Public Holidays when they fall to be so rostered are regarded as working days save that they command a special allowance. Subject to certain conditions, annual leave may be availed of in half days. Garda Síochána Code – Chapter 11 refers. Members in Designated Posts, who are not normally rostered for duty on Public Holidays, have, as a result, less control over the way in which they avail of their own free days. While a member who is rostered to work a public holiday which falls on a rostered working day can avail of all other free days by way of annual leave, a member who is not normally rostered for duty on a Public Holiday, has, in effect, less free days that may be taken as annual leave. This reduction in the number of free days which may be taken as annual leave, is , in part, compensated for by the grant to the member concerned of an extra four free days per annum. Such members have 104 rest days (weekend days) and 38 other free days per annum. Their entire yearly work requirement, excluding absences through illness or by way of special leave, is 223 days (1,784 hours)
Carry-over of annual leave – Section 8.4 of WTA (Garda Siochana Code 11.19)Where by reason of maternity leave, illness or injury or where a member has applied for annual leave and, because of the exigencies of the service, the application is refused and the member cannot avail of his/her annual leave entitlement within the leave year, that member shall have the unused portion of his/her annual leave entitlement carried over in full into the next annual year. Other than the areas as outlined above, annual leave will not be cancelled save in exceptional circumstances.

Sympathetic Leave

Sympathetic leave with pay applies as follows:-

  • Five working days on the death of a spouse (including a cohabiting partner), child (including adopted children and children being cared for on the basis of ‘in loco parentis’) or any person in a relationship of domestic dependency, including same sex partners.
  • Three working days in the case of other immediate relatives. For the purpose of bereavement leave “immediately relative” means father, step-father, mother, step-mother, brother, step-brother, half-brother, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandfather, grandmother or grandchild of a member; or
  • One working day in the case of an uncle, aunt, nice or nephew.

Please refer to HQ Directive 60/2014 for details in relation to exceptional circumstances and travel abroad.

Special Leave

Special leave without pay may be granted in the following circumstances:In special circumstances a member may apply for special leave without pay. Such leave may be granted for a period for two months. In certain circumstances this leave may be extended to six months depending on the circumstances of each application. Examples of circumstances where special leave may be granted would be as follows:

  • Urgent domestic affairs
  • Serious illness of an immediate relative
  • Following the birth of a child by a surrogate mother. HQ Directive of 52/16 of 26/08/16 refers.

Special leave without pay shall not count for the purposes of superannuation

The term “immediate relative” shall in context of these arrangements mean father, mother, brother, sister, child, father in law and mother in law. It also means husband or wife where special provision is not made for the spouse

Maternity / Adoptive Leave

The duration of maternity and adoptive leave has been increased in accordance with the Maternity Protection Act 1994/2004. The new leave arrangements are effective from 1 March 2007. Members are entitled to 26 weeks paid maternity leave and 16 weeks unpaid maternity leave. Paid adoptive leave is 24 weeks and unpaid adoptive leave is 16 weeks. HQ Dir. 30/06 of 27 February 2006 refers. See also HQ Dir 159/05 on the safety and health of pregnant members. A number of other improvements to maternity protection legislation are as follows:

  • A new provision reducing the compulsory pre-confinement period of maternity leave from 4 weeks to 2 weeks.
  • Provision for expectant mothers to attend one set of ante-natal classes without loss of pay (except the last 3 classes in a set). Provision for a once-off right to fathers paid time off to attend the two ante-natal classes immediately prior to the birth.
  • Provisions for breastfeeding mothers to have given birth within the previous 6 months with an entitlement, without loss of pay, to either an adjustment of working hours or where breastfeeding facilities are provided by the employer, breastfeeding breaks.
  • Provision for termination of additional maternity leave (subject to agreement of employer) in the event of illness.
  • Provision for an employee to postpone the period of maternity leave/additional maternity leave (subject to the agreement of the employer) in the event of the hospitalisation of the child. Leave may only be postponed after 14 weeks maternity leave has been taken.
  • Provision that an employee’s absence from work on additional; maternity leave will count for all employment rights associated with the employment (except remuneration and superannuation benefits) such as seniority and annual leave.)

See HQ Dir 13/12 dated 9 Feb 2012. Revised procedures for processing paid maternity leave and in relation to refund from Department of Social Protection. Notification of maternity leave with accompanying MB10 form where applicable should be forwarded to the Superintendent who shall submit for processing and onward transmission to the Department of Social Protection. Members should not put their own details as the payee on the form.

Paternity Leave

The Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016 commenced on 1 September 2016 and applies to members of An Garda Síochána. The new legislation introduces a single period of two weeks paternity leave with pay. Paternity leave enables relevant parents to provide, or assist in the provisions of care to a child or to provide support or the relevant adopting parent or mother of the child, as the case may be or both as set out in section 6(1) of the 2016 Act. This leave will be available to all members, however, only one relevant parent, in relation to a child, (other than the mother of the child) may apply for this leave. At least four weeks’ notice should be given by a member of his/her intention to take Paternity Leave. Paternity Leave will be granted in respect of the birth or adoption of a child on or after 1 September 2016. See HQ Dir 58/16 of 6 October 2016

Parental Leave

The legal provisions governing the granting of Parental Leave are set out in the in the Parental Leave Act 1998 and Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2006. The Act also makes provision for “Force Majeure” Leave. The general provisions of the Act are set out hereunder:

Eligibility:

Members of the Garda Síochána with one year’s continuous service are entitled to avail of Parental Leave, with the exception that where a member has less than one years service but more than 3 months and the child is approaching the age of eight, parental leave may be granted on a pro rata basis.

Parental Leave comprises of the following:

  • Every member who is a parent is entitled to 18 weeks parental leave.
  • The maximum age for any eligible child is 13 years of age.
  • Parental leave entitlements are extended to persons acting in loco parentis in respect of an eligible child.
  • In the case of children with disabilities the maximum age of an eligible child is 16 years.
  • Only 14 weeks of the 18 weeks can be transferred between qualifying parents where both parents are employed by the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána.
  • Where an adopted child is more than three and less than eight years old, leave must be taken within two years of adoption order. Where adopted child is less than three years leave must be taken before the child is eight years.

The manner of taking parental leave must be agreed with the District Officer; in other words it can be varied and may be availed of in weekly periods or as individual days, etc.

Parental leave is restricted to not more than 18 weeks in any 12 month period unless the Garda Commissioner waives restriction. Multiple births have no such restriction. Public holidays, which fall during parental leave are added on at the end of such leave. HQ Directive 43/2013 refers.

Parental leave is unpaid but a member retains his/her employment rights other than the right to remuneration and superannuation benefits. Parental leave does not affect a mothers’ rights to maternity leave.

Notice of an intention to take parental leave must be given in writing within six weeks or as soon as is reasonably practicable of intention to avail of leave. Such notice will specify dates of commencement, duration and manner of taking such leave.

The processing of Parental leave, Career Breaks, Shorter Working Year, Work Sharing, Carer’s Leave Maternity special paid & unpaid leave transferred from HRM Garda HQ to Garda Civilian HR Directorate, Athlumney House, IDA Business Park, Johnson, Navan, Co. Meath – Tel. 046 903 6842, 046 903 6806, 046 903 6821, 046 903 6809.

Force Majeure Leave

The Parental Leave Act, 1998 also provides for leave on grounds of Force Majeure. Force majeure leave is paid leave, which is granted to members in cases offamily emergencies resulting from injury or illness of a close family member. It is separate from parental leave. It amounts to three days in any 12 consecutive months or five days in any 36 consecutive month period.

A member may avail of this leave where, owing to injury or sickness of a family member, he/she is indispensably required to attend at the place where the family member is. Family member is defined as a child, spouse or person with whom the member is living as husband or wife, same—sex partners, a person to whom the member is in loco parentis, brother or sister, parent or grandparent. Where such leave is availed of the member must, as soon as is reasonably practicable thereafter, confirm in writing that he/she has availed of such leave. Included will be the dates the leave was taken and the facts outlining his/her entitlement to avail of such leave. Members who wish to avail of parental and/or force majeure leave may make application to their immediate superior. HQ Directive 21/99 and 182/00 refer.