With effect from 1 October 2017, if the baby is born prematurely, maternity leave will be extended by the length of time between the actual date of birth of the premature baby and the expected start date of your maternity leave (i.e. ordinarily two weeks before the expected date of birth). Maternity Benefit in respect of the premature birth period will be payable by the Department of Social Protection. To make a claim for any additional period due to a premature birth, you will need to contact the Maternity Benefits Section of the Department of Social Protection before the end of your 26 weeks of maternity leave. Nurses/Midwives employed in the public health service will receive their full normal pay, less any social welfare entitlements, where applicable, in respect of this premature birth period.