Adoptive Leave

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Dermot Kelly

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The Adoptive Leave Act, 1995 was introduced to entitle female employees and, in certain circumstances, male employees to time off from her or his job when adopting a child. This Act was then amended by the Adoptive Leave Act 2005 (No.25 of 2005). Together they may be cited as the Adoptive Leave Acts 1995–2005.


Adoptive Leave

Under the Adoptive Leave Act, 1995-2005, adoptive leave is available to an employed adopting mother, an employed sole male adopter, or an employed adopting father in circumstances where the adopting mother has died before or during the period of adoptive leave.

An adopting mother or a sole male adopter has the right to a minimum period of 24 consecutive weeks’.

  • Adoptive leave beginning on the day of placement of the child. 
  • You must give written notification to your HR Governor of your intention to take adoptive leave as soon as is reasonably practicable but not later than 4 weeks before the expected placement of the child.
  • If the day of placement is postponed the leave may be postponed until the new day of placement.

Where an adopting mother dies, the adopting father has the right to either the remainder of the adoptive leave where the placement has already commenced or 24 weeks where it has not.

An employee, who has taken adoptive leave, is entitled to avail of up to 16
weeks of additional adoptive leave. The leave is available at the request of the employee and follows immediately on the period of adoptive leave.

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.

An employee shall be entitled to time off from work to attend any pre-adoption meetings or classes which the employee is obliged to attend. Written notification of dates and times of classes must be supplied to the employer not later than 2 weeks before the dates of the classes concerned.

An adopting parent can postpone the adoptive leave if the adopted child has to be hospitalised. However, the employer’s agreement is required

Employees on adoptive leave are entitled to be credited for any public holiday that occurs during their leave. They must receive the benefit of such leave. 


Annual leave which accrues during an absence on adoptive leave shall be granted by the employer in accordance with Section 20 of The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997.

Adoptive leave qualifies as reckonable service with regard to Redundancy Agreements and Payments. Absences from work on adoptive leave do not breach continuity of employment.

Legislation / Circulars / IPS Policy

Adoptive Leave Act 1995

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