If you are eligible for full-rate Maternity Benefit, you will get €245 a week for 26 weeks (156 days). If you are already on certain social welfare payments, you may get half-rate Maternity Benefit.
Maternity Benefit is a payment for employed and self-employed people who are:
You must start your maternity leave before your baby is due.
When your paid Maternity Benefit ends, it is possible to take 16 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. You will not be paid for this, but you will get a social insurance (PRSI) credit for each week of unpaid leave you take.
To qualify for Maternity Benefit, you must pay social insurance (PRSI) contributions at Class A, E, H or S (self-employed).
If you are a member of the Defence Forces and you pay social insurance (PRSI) at Class H, you are insured for Maternity Benefit, but it is not payable while you are in service.
You must also have a certificate that confirms when your baby is due.
Your employer must certify your maternity leave.
Ask your doctor for a certificate that confirms when your baby is due. Give this certificate to your employer. Your employer will fill in an MB2: Employer Certificate for Maternity Benefit and give it to you. When you apply for Maternity Benefit, include the MB2 certificate from your employer.
If your employee wishes to take the minimum 2 week period of maternity leave prior to the birth of her baby, she should commence her maternity leave on the Monday prior to the week in which her baby is due.Download
Your doctor must certify your maternity leave.
Ask your doctor to fill in an MB3: Medical Certificate for Maternity Benefit form and give it to you. When you apply for Maternity Benefit, include the MB3 form from your doctor.
Maternity Benefit is €245 a week for 26 weeks, or 156 days.
If you pay tax, you will have to pay tax on Maternity Benefit. You will not have to pay the Universal Social Charge (USC) or social insurance (PRSI).
If you have dependants, you may be able to get a higher rate of Maternity Benefit. When you apply, your rate of Maternity Benefit (excluding increases for dependants) is compared to the rate of Illness Benefit (including increases for dependants) that would be paid to you if you were absent from work through illness. The higher of the two rates is paid to you.
Maternity Benefit is paid directly into your bank or building society current or deposit account. It cannot be paid into a mortgage account.
Your employer may continue to pay you in full when you are on maternity leave. They may require you to have your Maternity Benefit paid to them, and you can choose to do this.
If your baby is born early (prematurely), you may extend your maternity leave and Maternity Benefit. The length of the extension will match the time between your baby’s date of birth and when you planned to start your maternity leave and Maternity Benefit.
For example, if your baby is born ten days before you planned to take maternity leave, your leave and Maternity Benefit will be extended by ten days.
To apply for Maternity Benefit when your baby is premature, send a letter from your doctor with the Maternity Benefit application form confirming:
Important: Please send in your application before the end of your first 26 weeks of Maternity Benefit.
Dealing with the loss of a baby can be a difficult and devastating time for parents and families. If you experience a stillbirth or miscarriage any time after the 24th week of pregnancy (that is, from the beginning of the 25th week), you are entitled to 26 weeks of maternity leave if you are covered by social insurance (PRSI).
To apply for Maternity Benefit after a stillbirth or miscarriage, you send a letter from your doctor with the Maternity Benefit application form to the Maternity Benefit Section at the department.
In the letter, your doctor should include:
It can be difficult if your baby is in hospital. If it is helpful to you, you can choose to postpone the last 12 weeks of your maternity leave and your Maternity Benefit. If you qualify, you will be able to postpone your Maternity Benefit for up to 6 months.
To qualify, you must have:
To postpone your Maternity Benefit, write to:
To resume your Maternity Benefit payment after your baby has been discharged from hospital, write to the Maternity Benefit Section.
If you are an employee, you should apply for Maternity Benefit at least six weeks before you plan to go on maternity leave. If you are self-employed, you should apply at least 12 weeks before you plan to go on maternity leave.
You can also apply for Maternity Benefit using the application form at the bottom of this page.
Please send your completed application form and supporting documents by Freepost to:
For more information on social insurance (PRSI) requirements for Maternity Benefit, please visit MyWelfare.ie/Maternity.