Skip to main content

Adoptive leave


Adoptive leave may be taken by the nominated parent, in the case where a couple is adopting a child. Or in the case of a sole adopter, the parent who is adopting the child on their own will qualify for adoptive leave.

In the case of a couple adopting a child, the couple must decide between themselves which of the two will avail of the adoptive leave. The parent who will be availing of the adoptive leave is referred to as the nominated parent. The parent not availing of the adoptive leave will be entitled to avail of Paternity Leave.

Ideally, you should apply for adoptive leave eight weeks in advance. For unpaid leave, the suggested timeline for applying is four weeks before the end of the paid leave period.


Adoptive Leave consists of 24 weeks of paid leave for the nominated parent, with an option to avail of 16 weeks of unpaid additional adoptive leave.

Time in lieu for bank holidays that occur during the adoptive leave will be applied directly following the period of adoptive leave. For worksharing officers, time in lieu will be granted on a pro rata basis.

Leave will be applied in the following sequence:

  • Paid adoptive leave
  • Unpaid adoptive leave (optional)
  • Bank holiday time in lieu

Pre-adoption meetings/classes

Officers are entitled to paid time off from work to attend any pre-adoption classes and meetings where attendance is required.

Officers may be required to submit, on request of the employer, supporting documentation to confirm attendance at any pre-adoption meetings/classes.

Supporting documentation

In order to process a request for adoptive leave officers are required to submit one of the following supporting documents:

  • In the case of domestic adoption (within Ireland): A Certificate of Placement may be obtained from your local health board or the registered adoption society that arranged the placement of your child.
  • In certain cases, an Bord Uchtála (the Adoption Board) will issue a Certificate of Placement where the placement of a child was not arranged by either a health board or the registered adoption society.
  • In the case of an inter-country adoption (foreign adoption): An Adoption Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability or Adoption Order (pursuant to the Adoption Act, 1991) is issued by An Bord Uchtála.

Payment while on leave

While on this leave an officer will be paid their usual salary by their department. If Adoptive Benefit is applicable, the officer must ensure that payment of the benefit is authorised to issue to their employing department.

Adoptive Benefit

All Post-95 employees are required to submit an application for Adoptive Benefit as well as an application for adoptive leave.

  • Officers should ensure that Part 3 of the Adoptive Benefit form is signed to authorise payment of the benefit to the employer.
  • NSSO will provide the employers details to DSP as part of processing the Adoptive Leave request
  • Further information regarding Adoptive Benefit can be found on the DSP website.

How to apply for adoptive leave

There is currently no e-form available for Adoptive Leave. In order to submit a request, a manual application is required. To attach supporting documents, to view progress on an existing case, or to submit a manual application form, you can log into the case management system.

Download a copy of the form here

Supply a Certificate of Placement (in the case of a domestic adoption (within Ireland), or an Adoption Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability (in the case of an inter-country adoption (foreign adoption)).

Post the adoptive leave application form and supporting document to:

National Shared Services Office, Block 5, Belfield Office Park, Beech Hill Road, Clonskeagh, Dublin 4, D04 A9P2

Instead of posting your documents you can email a scanned copy or clear photo of your form and supporting documents to Please remember to quote your case ID on the subject line of the email so that your documents can be attached to your case.

Adoptive leave process explained

  • 8 weeks before the start date of the adoptive leave, the officer completes the adoptive leave application form with the start date of the leave and the date of placement of the child.
  • The manager approves the application form
  • The officer raises a self-service case with the following details:
    • Category: leave management
    • Requirement: req non-annual leave
    • Case detail: adoptive leave
    • Case summary: paid/unpaid adoptive leave starting DD/MM/YYYY
    • Case details: application for adoptive leave starting on DD/MM/YYYY
  • Use the ‘attach a file’ button to add your application form and supporting documents to your case then press ‘submit’.
  • Ensure that you remove the paid/unpaid option from your case summary as appropriate.
  • The case is received by the leave management team and is assigned out to be processed.
  • The leave management team check the attachments to ensure that the application has been approved by the line manager, and that all supporting documents have been submitted and are in order.
    • If approval has not been included on the application form submitted we will contact the manager to confirm approval of the leave.
    • If supporting documents have not been included we will contact the officer to request the supporting documents.
  • If everything is in order the NSSO will update the adoptive leave on the officer’s records. We will also calculate the number of bank holidays owed (taking account the officer’s work pattern) and will amend the expected return date to account for the number of bank holidays owed.
  • The NSSO will issue a confirmation letter to the officer, manager and local HR to confirm the details and expected return date of the leave.
  • The NSSO will complete Part 4 of the Adoptive Benefit application form with the department bank details (if applicable) and forward the form to DSP on behalf of the officer.
  • The NSSO will provide and apply the flat rate amount of Adoptive Benefit to ensure that the salary is adjusted to account for the benefit amount paid.
  • When the benefit award letter has been received, the officer should forward a copy to the NSSO to ensure that their salary is correct for the duration of their leave.

If you have a general question about adoptive leave, please raise a HR case.

Declaration: By applying for adoptive leave employees are undertaking that any overpayment of salary which may arise from said application and/or participating in this scheme, will be repaid in the manner in which it was paid.