Guidance and information

This guidance provides helpful information regarding your entitlements, and what you need to do. It has been produced to guide you through your rights and obligations during adoption and to help you to plan for your Adoption Leave.

This guide does not affect your terms and conditions of employment which take precedence. If, after reading it, you have any questions that remain unanswered, please contact your HR Advisor at the Office of Human Resources.

Ordinary Adoption Leave (OAL)

Under the terms of the Employment Act 2006, you are entitled up to 26 weeks unpaid leave after adopting your child. To qualify, you must be newly matched with a child under the age of 18 for adoption by an adoption agency.

You must be given this leave regardless of the length of time you have been employed. You may be entitled to receive adoption pay from your employer during this period, according to your terms and conditions.

Only one person of a couple may be the ‘adopter’ for the purpose of OAL.

You may choose not to take the full allowance.

Additional Adoption Leave (AAL)

You may be entitled to 26 weeks unpaid Additional Adoption Leave. To qualify for this, you must have worked for your employer for 26 weeks continuously at the time you are matched with the child for adoption.

Additional Adoption Leave starts immediately after Ordinary Adoption Leave.

This unpaid OAL and AAL are also sometimes referred to as Statutory Adoption Leave.

Paternity Leave (Adoption)

Where a couple matched with a child for adoption have agreed that one of them shall be the ‘adopter’ for the purpose of Adoption Leave, the other (regardless of sex) is entitled to take 1 or 2 weeks paternity leave (adoption), if you have the 26 weeks of qualifying employment.