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Returning to Work or Resigning at the End of Adoption Leave

End of Adoption Leave

Before taking their adoption leave, employees will usually have notified their employer of the date on which they intend to return to work, or at least the amount of adoption leave that they intend to take. In the absence of employee notification of a proposed return to work date, the date on which an employee returns to work will usually be 52 weeks after adoption leave began.

Changing the Return Date

In some instances employees will want to change the date that they are due to return to work. Where an employee wishes to alter the date of their return to work, they should give their employer at least 8 weeks’ notice (although the employer may, at their discretion, accept less notice). This is the case whether the employee wishes to return early or extend their leave (where for example they only anticipated taking 26 weeks’ OAL, but have since decided to take the full 52 weeks of entitlement). If the employer failed to give proper confirmation of the employee’s return to work date when the employee first gave notice of their intention to take leave, then the employee is not required to give 8 weeks’ notice. Where the employee wishes to bring the return date forward and does not give 8 weeks’ notice (and the employer has complied with the confirmation of return date requirement), the employer can postpone their return in order to create a notice period of 8 weeks.


Some employees on adoption leave may decide that they do not wish to return to work at all. In such instances the employee must give such notice of their resignation as is required by their contract of employment. As long as the employee states the date on which they wish to terminate their employment contract, they can give more notice and their adoption leave and pay will continue unaffected.

Parental Leave

An employee who qualifies for the right may take parental leave to immediately follow on from their adoption leave period, subject to the usual rules relating to the right.

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