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13/09/2016 Comments are off SIPTUhealth

Adoptive Leave Act 1995-2005


An adopting mother, a sole adopting father, or an adopting father where the adopting mother has died, who is in employment is entitled to:

  • a minimum of 24 consecutive weeks adoptive leave commencing on the day of placement of the child and
  • up to sixteen weeks additional unpaid adoptive leave

There is no obligation on an employer to pay an employee during the 24 weeks standard leave. However, the initial 24 week period of adoptive leave will attract social welfare benefits in most cases. Absence from work on adoptive leave will not affect any employment right except the right to wages. The additional sixteen weeks unpaid leave does not attract social welfare benefits.

Notification Requirements

Adoptive Leave

An employee must give the employer a minimum of four weeks notice before the expected placement of the child. Notice of the expected day of placement may be given later but must be in writing and as soon as is reasonably practicable.

Additional Adoptive Leave

An employee must inform the employer in writing, at least four weeks beforehand of the intention to take additional adoptive leave.

Return to Work

An employee must inform the employer in writing, at least 4 weeks beforehand of the date on which she/he intends to return to work after adoptive leave or additional adoptive leave.

Evidence of the Placement

Irish Adoption

An employee who has commenced adoptive leave must furnish the employer with a certificate of placement as soon as is reasonably practicable but no later than four weeks after the date of placement.

Foreign Adoption

An employee must give her/his employer a copy of the declaration of eligibility and suitability before the commencement of adoptive leave or additional adoptive leave (whichever occurs first). Particulars of the placement must be furnished as soon as is reasonably practicable.

Time off to attend certain classes and meetings

An employee is entitled to time off work, without loss of pay or right related to the employee’s employment to attend any pre-adoption classes and meeting which the employee is obliged to attend as part of the adoption process. An employee is obliged to notify the employer in writing of the dates and times of the classes concerned as soon as practicable but not later than two weeks before the date of the first class, and provides on request from the employer, an appropriate document indicating the dates and times of the classes concerned.

Right to Return to Work

The employee has a right to return to work after a period of adoptive leave or additional adoptive leave.

She/he has the right to return to:

  1. The job which she/he held immediately before the start of the period and
  2. Under the contract of employment under which she/he was employed immediately before the start of that period, (or where there is a change of ownership has occurred to an identical contract of employment with the successor) or
  3. In either case under terms or conditions that are not less favourable than those that would have been applicable, and

That incorporate any improvements in the terms and conditions of employment to which the employee would have been entitled.

Annual Leave and Public Holidays

Employees on adoptive leave are entitled to be credited for any public holiday that occurs during their leave. This means in practice that they must be given either an extra day’s pay, or a set paid day off within a month, or an extra day’s annual leave for any public holiday that occurred during their leave. This also applies if the employer continues to provide full pay to the employee while on adoptive leave. Annual leave which accrues during an absence on adoptive leave shall be granted by the employer in accordance with Section 20 of The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997.


If there is a dispute between an employer and an employee on entitlements under the legislation, it can be referred to a Rights Commissioner, in the first instance, The Rights Commissioner’s decision can be appealed to the Employment Appeals Tribunal. If an adopting parent is dismissed from his or her job because he or she wants to take adoptive leave or is taking adoptive leave or additional adoptive leave, this will be regarded as an unfair dismissal, unless there are substantial group.

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