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Do adoptive mams and dads get time off work too?

Get the facts about Adoptive Leave

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life

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What is Adoptive Leave and who can take it?

You may have heard about Parental Leave before but did you know that under Irish Law (Adoptive Leave Act 1995 and the Adoptive Leave Act 2005) a mother who adopts a child is entitled to take time off work to care for them?

  • If a couple adopts a child the mother is the only parent entitled to adoptive leave
  • If a single man adopts a child then he is entitled to take adoptive leave

Will I still get paid?

You have a right to take adoptive leave but you don’t have a right to be paid for it. However, your contract of employment may provide for payment during the period of leave. Double check it to be sure.

If you have enough PRSI contributions you may qualify for Adoptive Benefit which is paid by the Department of Social Protection while you are on adoptive leave. If you qualify you could be entitled to around €230 per week. You can check out all the criteria here.

It’s important to apply to the Adoptive Benefit Section of the Department of Social Protection at least five weeks before you intend to start adoptive leave.

How much adoptive leave do I get?

Since March 1st 2007 you are entitled to 24 weeks' adoptive leave. You are also entitled to take 16 weeks additional leave after that 24 week period ends. This is known as additional unpaid adoptive leave.

  • You’re also entitled to your Bank Holidays and Public Holidays off as per usual, even during additional adoptive leave
  • You can build up annual leave while you’re caring for your adopted child 
  • If you become ill and can’t care for the child you can ask your employer if you can terminate your unpaid additional adoptive leave, and transfer over to sick leave instead 
  • Since January 30th 2006 if the adopted child is hospitalised, the period of leave or additional leave may also be postponed, provided that the employer agrees

Am I entitled to any leave before the adoption?

Yes, you’re entitled to time off work (with pay) to attend preparation classes and pre-adoption meetings with social workers. These are all usually required during the pre-adoption process.

Will my employment rights be affected?

They most certainly shouldn't be.

  • Your rights remain exactly the same, except for your rights to pay obviously
  • You have the same rights to return to work as someone on maternity leave does, but you must give four weeks’ notice of your intention to return
  • You’re entitled to return to the same job, unless it’s not reasonably practicable for the employer - if that’s the case they must offer you a suitable and appropriate alternative

Ok so, how do I apply for Adoptive Leave?

  • You must tell your employer that you intend to avail of adoptive leave in writing
  • You have to give them at least four weeks notice before the expected placement of the child/children
  • The letter should outline the date on which you want to start taking your leave
  • You’ll also need to give the employer a certificate of placement within four weeks of the arrival of the child/children
  • If you’re planning on taking the 16 weeks additional adoptive leave you must give your employer 4 weeks notice in writing, otherwise you may lose some rights

Get more information about your adoptive leave rights here.

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Published Novem­ber 18th2014
Tags adoption parents childcare
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