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March 21, 2023

How to Qualify for Maternity Benefit in Ireland: Eligibility, FAQs

You must have enough PRSI contributions and certified maternity leave to qualify for Maternity Benefit in Ireland. Keep reading for more information.

Aine Kavanagh

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Aine Kavanagh

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Maternity Benefit is an Irish social welfare payment for expectant mothers on maternity leave.

Think of it as an allowance for new moms.

But you’ll receive this maternity allowance only if you have:

  • Sufficient PRSI contributions

  • Certified maternity leave from work

Let’s discuss these eligibility criteria in detail.

How to Qualify for Maternity Benefit

To qualify for Maternity Benefit in Ireland, you must have:

1. Sufficient Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) Contributions

PRSI is a compulsory contribution or payment to Ireland’s Social Insurance Fund and is the primary source of social welfare payments.

Your contribution depends on your salary and occupation — aka your PRSI class.

Presently, there are 11 PRSI classes covering employees and people who are self-employed or working outside of Ireland. The A, E, H, and S classes count for Maternity Benefit.

Based on your PRSI class, you must have a certain number of paid social insurance contributions to qualify for Maternity Benefit.

Let’s take a look:

A. Employees

Employees on maternity leave must have a minimum of 39 weeks of PRSI contributions paid for a 12-month period before the first day of their maternity leave.


You must have 39 weeks of PRSI credited in the relevant tax year or the year after.

The relevant tax year is the second-last year before the one in which you claim your Maternity Benefit. For instance, if your period of maternity leave starts in 2023, the relevant tax year would be 2021, and the year after that would be 2022.

You can also qualify for Maternity Benefit if you’ve made at least 26 weeks of PRSI payments in the relevant tax year and the year before.

B. Self-employed

Self-employed people (in insurable employment) must have a minimum of 52 weeks of PRSI contributions at Class S in the relevant tax year.


You must have at least 52 weeks of PRSI contributions paid in the year before or after the relevant tax year.

Is your maternity leave beginning in 2023?


  • The relevant tax year is 2021.

  • The year before the relevant tax year is 2020.

  • The year after the relevant income tax year is 2022.

C. Working outside of Ireland

If you’ve been working (in insurable employment) in the UK or a country governed by EU regulations, you must have paid a minimum of one full-rate PRSI contribution in Ireland. The contribution depends on your pay period, which can be weekly, fortnightly, and monthly.

You must also have paid your most recent PRSI contribution in Ireland to qualify for Maternity Benefit.

2. Certified Maternity Leave From Work

Here’s what you’ll need to receive a certified maternity leave:

A. Employees

You’ll need a doctor’s certificate confirming when your baby is due.

Your employers must then complete form MB2: Employer Certificate for Maternity Benefit.

You’ll also need this Maternity Benefit application form certified by your employer, even if your contract of employment ends or has ended within 16 weeks before the end of the week your baby is due.

B. Self-employed

For self-employed workers, the doctor must fill out the claim form MB3: Medical Certificate for Maternity Benefit form, certifying the due date.

Read everything about Maternity Benefit here.

3 Maternity Benefit FAQs

1. What Is the Rate of Payment for Maternity Benefit?

If you qualify for a full-rate Maternity Benefit, you’ll receive a social welfare payment of €262 a week for 26 weeks, excluding Sundays (156 days).

But look:

  • You’ll only be eligible for half-rate Maternity Benefit if you’re on other social welfare payments, like:

  • One-Parent Family Payment

  • Prisoner’s Wife’s Allowance

  • Deserted Wife’s Benefit or Allowance

  • Widow’s and Surviving Civil Partner’s (Contributory and Non-Contributory) Pension

  • A Surviving Civil Partner or Widow’s Widower’s Pension (under the Death Benefit Occupational Injuries Scheme)

2. How Long Do I Get Paid Maternity Benefit?

For full-term pregnancies, Maternity Benefit is paid for 26 weeks or 156 days (Sundays aren’t counted).

Here’s how it works in other cases:

  • Premature birth: For premature birth, you’ll get Maternity Benefit for an extra period, equalling the number of days between the actual date of birth and the expected date of birth of your baby. You’ll need a doctor’s certificate or hospital letter confirming the premature birth.

  • Stillbirth or miscarriage: You’ll receive 26 weeks of Maternity Benefit if you have a miscarriage after the 24th week of pregnancy or stillbirth where the birth weight is at least 500 grams.

  • Hospitalisation after birth: In the case of hospitalisation after birth, you can apply to postpone the last 12 weeks of Maternity Benefit for a maximum of six months. To qualify for this, you must have at least 14 weeks of Maternity Benefit paid and be on maternity leave for at least 4 weeks before your baby’s birth.

3. How Do I Apply For Maternity Benefit?

Employees must apply for Maternity Benefits at least six weeks before their intended maternity leave. If you’re self-employed, you should apply at least 12 weeks before your maternity leave begins.

To apply online, visit MyWelfare.ie and ensure you have a verified MyGovID account.

You can also submit a physical application by sending the relevant documentation via post to:

Maternity Benefit Section

Address: Department of Social Protection, McCarter’s Road, Ardaravan, Buncrana, Co. Donegal, F93 CH79

Number: 01 4715898

LoCall: 0818 690690

Give Your Employees Additional Maternity Coverage with Yonder

If you’re an employer, you have to manage a host of other employee benefits in addition to their pay — like health insurance and retirement contributions.

Thankfully with Yonder, you can automate employee health insurance and retirement benefits.

Allow employees to choose packages with maternity coverage or even add extra perks, like fertility add-ons.

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Aine Kavanagh

Article written by

Aine Kavanagh

👋🏻 Hi I'm Aine, Head of Customer Success at Yonder. Whether you're a Yonder customer, a Yonder user, or you're just browsing, I hope to help educate and empower those who want to know more about owning their own benefits, and building financial autonomy 📚

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