Adoptive leave is covered under the Adoptive Leave Acts 1995 & 2005. 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 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’). 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
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 and these are set out below. 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 below.
The leave is available to:
- An employed adopting mother: that is, any female employee in whose care a child (of whom she is not the natural mother) has been placed or is to be placed with a view to the making of an adoption order, or to the effecting of a foreign adoption or following any such adoption.
- A sole male adopter: that is, a male employee in whose sole care a child has been placed or is to be placed with a view to the making of an adoption order, or to the effecting of a foreign adoption or following any such adoption.
- An employed adopting father is also entitled to certain leave in circumstances where the adopting mother has died before or during the period of adoptive leave or additional adoptive leave.
There is a right to return to work after a period of adoptive leave or additional adoptive leave. There are mandatory notification requirements and these are set out below.
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. An employee must inform her/his employer, in writing, of the expected date of placement of the child as soon as is reasonably practicable.
Additional Adoptive Leave
An employee must inform her/his employer, in writing, at least 4 weeks beforehand of her intention to take additional adoptive leave.
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.
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. The certificate may be obtained by the employee from the health board or the adoption society which arranged the placement. An Bord Uchtala will issue the certificate of placement in other Irish placement cases.
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.
Evidence of the Placement
There is provision for recourse to the Workplace Relations Commission, 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 Labour Court. 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 2005.
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