Dublin is a great place to raise a family. As well as an excellent education system, your children will be able to enjoy the city’s beautiful parks, open spaces and nearby beaches and mountains, all while growing up in a safe and richly cultured society.
There are many options for childcare in Dublin. Childminders are self-employed individuals who look after children in their home. Nurseries and creches offer a more formal environment, with set nap and meal times. Playschools and Montessori schools offer informal learning environments that prepare children for primary school. You might also consider engaging a professional nanny or au pair, although this tends to be a more expensive option.
Childcare /preschool is not provided by the state but is available privately. However, the Irish government does pay for 2 full academic years of preschool three hours each day for five days of the week. It’s called the ‘The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Scheme‘. If your child attends for a longer period, you will have to pay the difference. You can locate your nearest participating childcare provider.
The Dublin City Childcare Committee, funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, is another useful resource for parents looking for quality childcare that suits their budgets.
Most parents living and working in Ireland are entitled to Child Benefit. This amounts to €140 per child per month. You should make your application for child benefit within 12 months of your child arriving in Ireland, being born in Ireland, or joining the family.
Parents are entitled to 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave per child. Parents of children up to the age of 8 are eligible (eligibility is extended for a child adopted after the age of 8 and for a child with a long-term illness).
Each parent is entitled to their own period of leave. You can take it all at once or in two blocks. Each block must be a minimum of six weeks and you must leave a gap of at least ten weeks between blocks.
A maternity benefit of €230 per week for 26 weeks is available to employed women who have made sufficient PRSI contributions. It must begin between two and 16 weeks before your baby’s birth. You can also take an additional 16 weeks of unpaid maternity leave (see eligibility requirements).
Some employers will supplement the maternity benefit by continuing to pay an employee in full while they are on maternity leave – in this case, the maternity benefit is then paid to the employer.
Fathers are also eligible for two weeks’ paternity leave, with a benefit of €235 per week – provided you have made sufficient PRSI contributions. You can start paternity leave in the first six months after your child is born. Paternity benefit is not only for men. It can be claimed by the spouse, cohabitant or civil partner of the child’s mother, regardless of gender.
Visit Citizens’ Advice for more information on family benefits and leave.