Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants


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Paid Special Leave

The following information relates to the Civil Service. For managers in the commercial and non-commercial State sector please visit the relevant organisation's website on the links page.



Study/Exam Leave

If the Department is paying for your course fees (either upfront or as a refund) you are entitled to five days study leave with pay for each year of the course. If there is no examination in a particular year, you can carry leave over to the next exam year. Paid study leave is not available when an examination has to be repeated. Paid leave is allowed for exams that take place during the working week. Refer to information in Circular 33/1964 on the Government Circulars website. Visit the Unpaid leave section of the site for information on unpaid study leave.  


Maternity Leave

All female employees are entitled to maternity leave immediately before and after the birth of their child. Leave entitlements are currently 26 weeks maternity leave together with 16 weeks additional unpaid maternity leave. The Maternity Protection Act 1994 and the Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act 2004 provide the statutory minimum maternity entitlements. For more information visit the Citizens Information website or view Circular 31/2006 on the Government Circulars website.

Adoptive Leave

Paid adoptive leave of 10 weeks is available to women and to men who are sole adopters. The entitlement to adoption leave is based on Adoptive Leave Act 1995, as amended by the Adoptive Leave Act 2005. For more information visit the Citizens Information website or view Circular 30/2006 on the Government Circulars website.

Paternity Leave

A man is entitled to three days special leave with pay for the birth of his child. This leave may be taken at the time of birth or up to four weeks after the birth. In the case of adoption the leave may be taken on or up to four weeks after the date of placement of the child. Refer to Circular 32/1999 on the Government Circulars website.

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Bereavement Leave

Three days special leave with pay is available on the death of an immediate relative or, in exceptional circumstances, on the death of a more distant relative, (eg where you have to take charge of funeral arrangements or where you lived in the same house as the deceased). Where an immediate relative dies abroad and you have to go abroad to take care of the funeral arrangements, up to 10 days special leave with pay may be allowed. Refer to information in Circular 22/2009 on the Government Circulars website.

Force Majeure Leave

In the case of the serious and unforeseen illness of an immediate relative or in exceptional circumstances of a more distant relative, three days special leave with pay is available, but only where you have already used up that year’s annual leave. Refer to information in Circular 05/2010 on the Government Circulars website.


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Association of Higher Civil and Public Servants