Employers have to provide time off to employees who have adopted a child. Adopting mothers and sole male adopters are entitled to 24 weeks adoptive leave from the date of placement and an additional 16 weeks leave at the end of this 24 week period. The arrangements and notification periods for adoptive leave are the same as for maternity leave.
An adopting mother or sole male adopter must notify the company, in writing, of his/her intention to take adoptive leave no later than 4 weeks before the expected date of placement. The company is entitled to a certificate of placement, or a declaration of eligibility and suitability, as soon as is reasonably practicable. In foreign adoption cases, some of the additional adoptive leave may be taken before the placement of the child. In such cases, the employee must notify the company in writing 4 weeks before the leave is due to begin.
An employee will maintain all of his/her employee rights, other than remuneration, during the 24-week period, including the entitlement to annual and public holidays. An employee who is on adoptive leave is normally entitled to payment from the Department of Social Community and Family Affairs, depending on meeting certain eligibility criteria.
When adoptive leave ends, the employee must provide 4 weeks notice of the intended date of return, and will be entitled to return to his/her usual job so far as reasonably practicable. However, if this is not possible, the employee has to be offered suitable alternative work.
Pre-adoption classes and meetings
An employee is entitled to paid leave for pre-adoption classes or meetings, which the employee is obliged to attend. This leave will be granted subject to the employee giving the company two weeks notice in writing, of the times and location of the classes and/or meetings. An appointment card should accompany this written notification from the relevant body running the classes.
Termination of Additional Adoptive Leave
Should the employee fall ill during the additional adoptive leave, or if he/she has indicated that he/she has the intention to avail of additional adoptive leave and then falls ill, the employee may apply to commence sick leave instead of taking all or the remaining additional adoptive leave. This is entirely at the discretion of the company. When the employee transfers to sick leave, they forfeit their right to the remaining additional leave.
Postponement of Leave in the Event of the Hospitalisation of the Child
If the child falls ill and is hospitalised then the employee may apply to have the adoptive leave or additional leave postponed until the child is released from hospital. The decision to allow this postponement lies entirely at the discretion of the company.
The employee should request this postponement in writing with a letter confirming the hospitalisation of the child. The maximum period of postponement of leave is six months from the date of postponement. The employee must provide a letter or appropriate document from the hospital or the child’s GP confirming the date that the child was discharged from hospital, before resuming leave. Resumed leave must commence within seven days of the child’s discharge from hospital, or by agreement.
Employee Absence Due to Sickness during Period of Postponement
If the employee should fall ill during a period of postponement, and subsequently be absent from work, she will be deemed to have resumed adoptive leave from the first day of absence, unless she confirms in writing that this is not her wish. If the employee prefers to avail of sick leave, she must confirm this and forfeits her right to any remaining adoptive leave entitlements.