Carers’ entitlements

Older man looking worriedly at his post

Taking time off work to care

The Carer’s Leave Act 2001 allows employees in Ireland to leave their job temporarily to care for someone who needs fulltime care and attention.

The shortest period of leave allowed is 13 weeks and the longest is 104 weeks. Carer’s Leave is unpaid, but your employer must keep your job open for you while you are on leave.

To get Carer's Leave, you must have been working for your employer for 12 months without a break in employment. The person you are caring for must be in need of fulltime care. They do not have to be a family member or spouse - they can be a friend or colleague.

Carer’s Benefit and Carer’s Allowance

You may be eligible for Carer’s Benefit if you have enough PRSI contributions. Carer's Benefit is paid to people who leave work or reduce their hours to care for a person in need of fulltime care.

You can get Carer's Benefit for 2 years (104 weeks) for each person that you are caring for.

If you do not qualify for Carer’s Benefit, you may qualify for Carer’s Allowance. This is a weekly social welfare payment that is means tested. In other words, the payment will be based on the income that your family receives through work or other social welfare payments.

If you are receiving certain social welfare payments and are providing fulltime care and attention to another person, you can keep your main social welfare payment and get a half-rate Carer’s Allowance as well.

If you qualify for Carer's Allowance, you may also get a free household benefits package (if you are living with the person you are caring for). This includes allowances for gas or electricity and a free television licence.

You can still take Carer’s Leave even if you do not qualify for any of the above payments.

Carer's Support Grant

The Carer's Support Grant (formerly called the Respite Care Grant) is automatically paid to people getting Carer's Allowance or Carer’s Benefit. It is paid on the first Thursday of June each year.

This is a tax-free payment of €1,850. If you are getting a half-rate Carer’s Allowance, you will get 50% of the Carer’s Support Grant (€925).

You can use the grant in whatever way you like. You can use it to pay for respite, but you do not have to.

You can also call into your Intreo office and speak to a Department of Social Protection (DSP) official about exceptional needs payments. Or, talk to an information officer in your local Citizens Information centre.

Find out more
More information on money matters

You can call our Financial Support adviser on 01 231 6643 

For more information

Icon: Phone


1800 200 700

Icon: Email