Right to Return to Work after OAL and AAL

Right to Return to Work after Adoption Leave


Returning After Ordinary Adoption Leave

Where an employee only takes OAL, they have the right to return to the same job on the same terms and conditions as if they had not been absent. 

Returning After Additional Adoption Leave

An employee who returns after taking some or all of their 26 weeks of AAL entitlement still has the right to return to the same job on the same terms and conditions as if they had not been absent.

However, the right to return after AAL is qualified somewhat. Unlike the right to return after OAL, employers with an employee returning to work from AAL do not have to let them return to the same job if it is not reasonably practicable to do so. Whether it “reasonably practicable” or not is to be judged by the employer on a case by case basis on the facts at the time. Where it is deemed that it is not reasonably practicable, the employee should instead be offered a job which is:

- suitable and appropriate for them; and
- on terms and conditions no less favourable than those for their original position.

After Parental Leave

Some employees may decide to effectively extend their period of leave by taking parental leave immediately following the end of their adoption leave (where they qualify for parental leave). The taking of parental leave after adoption leave may affect the employee’s right to return to work. The general position is that the employee will have the right to return to work as if they were returning from OAL. However where the parental leave is for longer than 4 weeks, or it follows on from a period of AAL, the employee will return to work on the same basis as if they returned to work after AAL.

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