What is adoptive leave?
Adoptive leave is 24 weeks off work that starts with the date of placement of the child.
Do I get paid?
The employer is not required to pay you for the 24 weeks unless it is stipulated in your contract or has been put in place as company policy. You should check your company policy or with your union representative to see what if any arrangements regarding pay have been put in place with your employer. If you have enough PRSI contributions, you can avail of Adoptive Benefit from the Department of Social Protection.
If you are in receipt of Adoptive Benefit, you will automatically get PRSI credits. To avail of further PRSI credits for the time spent on unpaid additional adoptive leave, you must get your employer to complete an application form for adoptive leave credits on your return to work.
Who can avail of adoptive leave?
The adopting couple will decide which parent can avail of the adoptive leave and this will be defined as the nominated parent. An adopting couple means a married couple, a couple who are civil partners or a cohabiting couple adopting a child. The parent who does not avail of adoptive leave is instead entitled to paternity leave.
Adoptive leave is also available to a sole adopter i.e., in the case of a parent who is adopting a child on their own.
Can I take additional adoptive leave?
You can take up to 16 additional weeks’ unpaid adoptive leave, however you cannot claim Adoptive Benefit for these extra weeks. Again, check your company policy to see if other arrangements are in in place regarding additional adoptive leave.
How do apply?
You must give your employer 4 weeks’ notice in writing that you plan to take adoptive leave. Your notification to the employer should include the date when you expect to start your leave and include a certificate of placement confirming the adoption.
If you want to take the 16 weeks’ additional adoptive leave, you must also give your employer at least 4 weeks’ written notice, however, to simplify matters you can give notice about the adoptive leave and the additional adoptive leave at the same time.
Can I take paid time off before the adoption?
Yes, as before adopting a child, you may have to attend classes and pre-adoption meetings with social workers. You are entitled to paid time off work for these purposes.
What happens to my employment rights?
Again, except for pay all employment rights are maintained. You will continue to accrue annual leave and public holidays that fall during your adoptive leave. You are also entitled to return to the same job with the same contract of employment or if this is not possible the employer must provide you with suitable alternative work, the terms of which are no less favourable than those of your previous job.
Can I postpone Adoptive Leave?
You can postpone the leave if your child must go into hospital before you have taken your adoptive leave or additional leave. In this situation you can ask your employer to postpone the leave.
What happens if I get ill while on adoptive leave?
If you become ill while on adoptive leave, you can ask your employer to end your additional adoptive leave and put you on sick leave. You may then be able to get sick pay or claim Illness Benefit.
What other types of statutory leave are available to me?
Parental leave: Since 1 September 2020 each parent is entitled to 26 weeks’ unpaid parental leave. You must take parental leave before the child is 12 years of age, or 16 years of age in the case of a child with a disability. In general, you must have been working for your employer for at least 12 months to be entitled to parental leave. This is unpaid leave and there is no social welfare payment available. Further information on parental leave can be found here.
Paternity leave: This is only available to the parent who does not avail of adoptive leave. In this situation the adopting parent is entitled to take 2 weeks’ paternity leave. Employers do not have to pay you while you are on paternity leave, but you can get Paternity Benefit from the Department of Social Protection (DSP) if you have enough PRSI contributions. Again, check with your union rep to see what is available. Further information on paternity leave can be found here.
Parent’s leave: Each adoptive parent can take 7 weeks’ parent’s leave during the first two years of adoption. You must give your employer 6 weeks’ written notice. Your employer is not required to pay you for the 7 weeks’ leave unless it is stated in your contract or has been agreed by policy. However, you may be able to get Parent’s Benefit from the DSP if you have enough PRSI contributions. Again, check with your union rep to see what is available. Further information on paternity leave can be found here.