For comprehensive details of Adoptive Leave entitlements, refer to Circular 47/2023 (PDF).

Adoptive leave scheme

Adoptive Leave may be taken by the nominated parent where a couple is adopting a child, or in the case of a sole adopter, the parent who is adopting the child will qualify for Adoptive Leave. The parent who takes Adoptive Leave is known as the “Qualifying Adopter”.

Adoptive leave will be available to a permanent, CID holding, fixed term, or non-casual substitute teacher who is a Qualifiying Adopter.

The leave entitlements of teachers in fixed-term or non-casual substitute contracts will end at the end of their contracts.

Adoptive leave lasts for up to twenty-four weeks. After this, the teacher has an option to take up to sixteen weeks of unpaid adoptive leave, of which they can use as much or little as they wish, and which must commence immediately after the paid adoptive leave. Both paid and unpaid adoptive leave are statutory entitlements.

In the case of foreign adoptions some or all of the sixteen weeks statutory unpaid adoptive leave may be taken prior to placement, with the balance available to be used after the twenty-four weeks of paid adoptive leave has been taken.

At the discretion of their board, and only after using their full complement of statutory paid and unpaid adoptive leave, teachers may also apply for non-statutory unpaid adoptive leave. If approved, this will run until 31 August of the year in which it is taken.

Applying for adoptive leave

Adoptive leave should be requested at least six weeks before it commences.

The teacher will apply to their own board of management with:

  • The completed application form for leave at Appendix A of Circular 47/2023.
  • A certificate of placement (or declaration of eligibility and suitability if appropriate)
  • A copy of the completed social welfare form, the AB1

Up to sixteen weeks of unpaid adoptive leave may be applied for six weeks before the end of the paid adoptive leave.

If unpaid adoptive leave is taken, upon returning to service, an employee may apply for credited PRSI contributions for this time, using the Application for adoptive leave credits (pdf) form.

Non-casual substitute teacher taking adoptive leave

A non-casual substitute teacher is regarded as a fixed term worker for the purposes of the Protection of Employees (Fixed Term Work) Act 2003. As such, they are entitled to the same terms and conditions as a comparable permanent colleague, including access to their own adoptive leave. This entitlement comes to an end at the end of the teacher’s contract.

However, as two substitute teachers may not be paid for the same role through the OLCS, the non-casual substitute who is availing of their own adoptive leave should use the “Substitute for a Substitute” form to claim their salary, and the substitute who is covering their absence will be paid through the OLCS.

Applying for adoptive benefit

During paid adoptive leave, a teacher with sufficient PRSI contributions must apply for adoptive benefit from the Department of Social Protection. This benefit of €250 is paid weekly, with the Department of Education paying the balance of the teacher’s salary fortnightly.

To claim this benefit, teachers must complete and send the AB1 (PDF) to the Adoptive Benefit Section of the Department of Social Protection, at least six weeks’ before adoptive leave commences. Late applications may result in a delay with the payment of adoptive benefit.

Notes which may be helpful to you in filling out your AB1

  • For the purpose of this form, the board of management is the employer. The exception to this rule is the Employers Registered Number, which is a Department number, 4000099H

If you are ineligible for adoptive benefit

All teachers who pay Class A PRSI who are taking adoption leave must also apply for state adoptive benefit.

However, some people may find that they are ineligible, or that they are eligible for less than the full amount of adoptive benefit (€235 per week). This may be the case for teachers returning from career break, or those who are at the start of their career.

The Department of Education have made provision for these circumstances (see part 9.4 of Chapter Three of circular 54/2019) . In these circumstances, the teacher should notify Department payroll of their ineligibility, providing written confirmation from the Department of Social Protection, to ensure that their salary deductions are correct while on adoptive leave.

Statutory annual leave and public holidays

Chapter Ten of circular 54/2019 sets out the arrangements in relation to statutory annual leave/public holiday entitlements. The arrangements can be summarised as follows:

  • The leave year for teachers runs from 1 September to 31 August.
  • Full-time employees have a statutory right to 20 days annual leave, and ten public holidays per year.
  • A teacher’s entitlement to 20 days annual leave and ten public holidays is not affected by their absence on adoptive leave.
  • Public holidays occurring while on adoptive leave will be dealt with by increasing the statutory 20 days annual leave entitlement.
  • However, if in a leave year, a teacher on adoptive leave has been able to take the statutory minimum of 20 days annual leave, and any public holiday entitlements due, either before and/or after their adoptive leave through scheduled school closures, then they have achieved their statutory entitlements so no additional leave has accrued.
  • If, in the leave year, a teacher’s adoptive leave means they won’t be able to take their 20 days annual leave and ten public holidays through school closures, they may take any such days immediately before the commencement of their adoptive leave.
  • Finally, if a teacher wishes to carry any such days forward to the following leave year, then these days may be taken only when the school is closed.

In practical terms, the Department has cut leave in lieu to the absolute minimum in line with the requirements of the Organisation of Working Time Act.

The small number of days in lieu (if any) that may accrue to a teacher under these revised arrangements must be taken immediately prior to the commencement of adoptive leave, as they are effectively lost if carried forward to the next leave year.

If an adopting teacher does have an entitlement to additional annual leave, this is separate to their adoptive leave, and will not affect the dates submitted to the DSP or recorded on the OLCS. This leave is substitutable, but the school will have to make contact with payroll to arrange payment of the substitute.

If you have questions about your Adoptive Leave, the INTO QueryLine operates 9 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday, on 01 804 7700.

Paged updated 19 September 2023

Still have questions?

Submit your query by email to INTO. Please include your payroll or membership number.