Ireland’s maternity benefits are designed to offer crucial support to expecting mothers and new mothers who are on maternity leave. It is important for these individuals to have a clear understanding of their entitlements, the application process, and other essential aspects related to the benefits. This knowledge can be immensely helpful in ensuring that expecting and new mothers can navigate this period with confidence and peace of mind. So let’s explain all you need to know.


How Much is Maternity Benefit in Ireland?

The current weekly payment rate for maternity benefit in Ireland is €274​. Maternity benefits are paid for 26 weeks (156 days). After the baby is born, you must take at least four weeks off​. 


How Do You Qualify for Maternity Benefit in Ireland?

To qualify for maternity benefits in Ireland you need to meet the following criteria: 

  1. Employment Status: You must be employed or self-employed and paying PRSI (Pay Related Social Insurance) contributions.
  2. PRSI Contributions: You must have enough PRSI contributions. Specifically, you need:
    • At least 39 weeks of PRSI contributions paid in the 12-month period before the start of your maternity leave, or
    • 39 weeks of PRSI contributions paid since first starting work and at least 39 weeks paid or credited in the relevant tax year or the year following it, or
    • 26 weeks of PRSI contributions paid in the relevant tax year and 26 weeks in the year before it.
  3. Timing of Contributions: You must have paid at least one PRSI contribution within 16 weeks of the end of the week your baby is due.
  4. Leave Requirement: You must take at least 2 weeks and not more than 16 weeks of maternity leave before the end of the week your baby is due.
  5. Duration of Benefit: Maternity Benefit is paid for 26 weeks (156 days) at a standard rate of €274 per week if you qualify for the full-rate benefit


When Should I Apply for Maternity Benefits in Ireland?

You must apply for maternity benefits at least six weeks before starting your maternity leave or 12 weeks if you are self-employed. This timeline ensures that your application is processed on time and you receive your benefits immediately. 

If you are a PAYE employee, you must inform your employer in writing of your intention to take maternity leave at least four weeks before the leave begins. Employers must complete an MB2 form, which is part of your maternity benefits application.


How Do You Apply for Maternity Benefits in Ireland?

If you are a PAYE worker, the application process includes:

    1. Completing the Maternity Benefit application form (MB1): This form gathers all necessary personal and employment details.
    2. Submitting an employer’s certificate (MB2) if employed: This certificate, completed by your employer, confirms your employment status and maternity leave dates.
    3. Providing a medical certificate (MB3) if self-employed: Your doctor must fill out this certificate after the 24th week of pregnancy, confirming your expected due date.
    4. Online Application: Visit the website and use your verified MyGovID account to log in. Here, you can complete the online application form and upload any required documents.
    5. Review your taxes for a tax refund in the year or years  that you received your maternity benefits with Irish Tax Rebates.


What Maternity Benefits are Available?

You get 26 weeks of paid maternity leave and can take up to 16 weeks of unpaid leave immediately after. While unpaid, you still receive social insurance contributions, which are crucial for future entitlements like pensions.

If your baby is born prematurely, you may get an extension of maternity benefit beyond the standard 26 weeks, corresponding to the premature period. In cases of stillbirth or miscarriage after the 24th week of pregnancy, you’re entitled to the full 26 weeks of leave and benefits, provided PRSI conditions are met.

In cases where you incur additional medical expenses during your pregnancy or maternity leave, you might be eligible for tax relief. Learn more about claiming tax back for medical expenses and medical expenses tax tips to ensure you are not leaving money behind.


Is Maternity Benefit Taxable?

Maternity benefit is not taxed as soon as you receive it; it is taxed at the end of the year. This means you won’t see deductions during your maternity leave. But your total income for the year will include the maternity benefit. It will be taxed at the year’s end. It is common that, the Department of Social Welfare  records the wrong level of tax for individuals receiving maternity benefits.   You should engage with Irish Tax Rebates who may advise you to contact your social welfare office if our team of experts feel your income was recorded incorrectly. Once corrected, you can claim back the tax you are owed. 


Can You Get Maternity Benefit if Unemployed?

Unemployed women may still qualify for maternity benefits if they meet the PRSI contribution conditions. Additionally, you must have been in employment that ended within 16 weeks of the end of the week in which your baby is due.



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