A brief overview of the key provisions of the Adoptive Leave Act, 1995 (Extension of Periods of Leave) Order, 2001 for the information of employee and employers is contained here. It is not a legal interpretation of the Act
Eligibility and Entitlement
An adopting mother or a sole male adopter who is in employment is entitled to:
- A minimum of 24 consecutive weeks of adoptive leave from work beginning on the day of placement of the child,
- Up to 16 weeks additional unpaid adoptive leave.
The 24-week period of adoptive leave will attract a social welfare benefit in the majority of cases.
The minimum of 24 consecutive weeks adoptive leave is available at the request of the employee. There are mandatory notification procedures and evidence of placement requirements and these are set out below - see notification requirements. Absence from work on adoptive leave will not affect any right of an employee related to the employment, except the right to remuneration.
Additional Adoptive Leave
Additional unpaid adoptive leave (after adoptive leave): - An employee, who has taken adoptive leave, is entitled to avail of up to 16 weeks additional adoptive leave. The leave is available at the request of the employee and follows immediately on the period of adoptive leave. Entitlement to the leave is subject to notification requirements. During an absence from work on additional adoptive leave, the period of employment before the absence will be regarded as continuous with the period of employment after the absence.
Additional Adoptive Leave (Foreign Adoption)
In the case of a foreign adoption, some or all of the 16 weeks additional adoptive leave may be taken immediately before the day of placement. The leave is available at the request of the employee and entitlement is subject to the notification and evidence requirements set out.
Right to return to work
There is a right to return to work after a period of adoptive leave or additional adoptive leave. There are mandatory notification requirements (addressed below)
There is provision for recourse to a rights commissioner, in the first instance, in the event of a dispute between an employer and an employee as regards entitlements under the legislation. There is a right of appeal to the Employment Appeals Tribunal. A dismissal which results from the exercise or contemplated exercise of the rights to adoptive leave or additional adoptive leave will be regarded as an unfair dismissal, unless there are substantial grounds justifying the dismissal. Redress in this case will be under the Unfair Dismissals Acts, 1977 to 1993.
Notice of intention to take adoptive leave:
An employee must give adequate notice, in writing, to her/his employer of her intention to take adoptive leave. The minimum advance notice of such intention is 4 weeks before the expected placement of the child. The expected day of placement may be given later.
Notice of the expected day of placement:
An employee must inform her/his employer, in writing, of the expected date of placement of the child as soon as is reasonably practicable.
Notice of commencement of additional adoptive leave:
An employee must inform her/his employer, in writing, at least 4 weeks beforehand of his/her intention to take additional adoptive leave.
Notice of intention to return to work:
An employee must inform her/his 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 Placement
An eligible employee who has commenced adoptive leave must furnish her/his employer with a certificate of placement. The certificate must be furnished as soon is reasonably practicable but no later than 4 weeks after the day of placement.
In the case of foreign adoption an eligible employee must give her/his employer a copy of the declaration of eligibility and suitability (issued pursuant to the Adoption Act, 1991) before the commencement of adoptive leave or additional adoptive leave (whichever is the earlier). Particulars of the placement must be furnished as soon as is reasonably practicable thereafter.