Adoptive Leave

Who is entitled to adoptive leave?

Under the Adoptive Leave Act 1995, which was amended in 2005, only the adoptive mother is entitled to avail of adoptive leave from employment, except in the case where a male is the sole adopter.

What am I entitled to under adoptive leave?

As from 1st March 2006, you are entitled to 20 weeks’ adoptive leave, during which time you can claim Adoptive Benefit from the Department of Social and Family Affairs. In addition, you are entitled to take an additional 12 weeks’ unpaid adoptive leave. During this additional period, there is no entitlement to adoptive leave benefit.

Woman holding baby

From March 2007, employees will be entitled to 24 weeks’ adoptive leave, together with an additional 16 weeks of unpaid adoptive leave.

Adoptive Benefit is available to both employees and self-employed people, and is subject to certain social insurance (PRSI) contribution conditions.

Your weekly rate of Adoptive Benefit is calculated as 80% of your weekly income – subject to a minimum payment of €182.60 and a maximum payment of €265.60. Contact your local Social Welfare office for more information.

What are my rights during my period of leave?

The only right that an employee loses while on adoptive leave is the right to remuneration and superannuation benefits. All other rights, including annual leave and public holidays, are preserved. A period of adoptive leave is treated as continuous and reckonable for purposes of statutory redundancy. Since November 2005, these rules also apply to the additional 12 weeks’ unpaid leave.

Other rules introduced in November 2005 include:

  • Adopting parents are entitled to paid time off work to attend preparation classes and pre-adoption meetings with social workers/HSE officials required during the pre-adoption process.
  • An adopting mother may transfer unpaid additional adoptive leave to paid sick leave in the event of illness.

What notice must I give my employer?

An employee must give adequate notice in writing to their employer of their intention to take adoptive leave. The minimum advance notice of such intention is four weeks before the expected placement of the child.

What notice must I give when I am returning to work?

An employee must inform their employer in writing of the date on which they are returning to work, at least four weeks before that date.

Have I any form of redress if I am unfairly treated?

There is a provision for recourse to a Rights Commissioner in the first place and on appeal to the Employment Appeals Tribunal.

If an employee is dismissed for taking or contemplating adoptive leave or additional adoptive leave, this will be regarded automatically as an unfair dismissal. Redress in this case will be under the Unfair Dismissal Acts, 1977 - 2001.

Reviewed: September 21, 2006