Factsheet 5 Adoption Pay and Leave

Factsheet 5
Adoption Pay and Leave
This factsheet is only a summary of the complex law governing adoption pay and leave. It
covers the law in relation to employees who have had a child placed with them for adoption
by an agency, or adopted from overseas. Detailed guidance can be found on www.gov.uk
Adoption pay and leave covers the rights of employees to have leave from work when a
child is placed for adoption with them, and the pay they are entitled to during this period.
Adoption pay and leave is governed by a combination of legislation and contract law.
Legislation sets down statutory minimum entitlements to which all employees are entitled.
These are minimum entitlements and many employers go beyond the minimum. It is
important for prospective adopters to check their employment contracts to see what their
contractual entitlements are this might include period of full and half pay while on adoption
leave. Anyone being offered additional contractual arrangements should make sure they have
read and fully understood the terms and conditions of such payments as they often require
the employer to return to work for a minimum period at the end of the statutory leave
The statutory minimum entitlements apply equally to children placed by a voluntary or local
authority adoption agency, as they do to children who are adopted from overseas. However,
in relation to inter-country adoptions, for practical reasons there are some differences to
the eligibility, notice and evidential requirements to take leave and when leave and pay can
See www.gov.uk Statutory Adoption Leave (Overseas Adoptions).
Statutory Adoption Leave
To qualify you must:
be an employee
be newly-matched with a child by an adoption agency
Have worked continuously for your current employer for at least 26 weeks before the
beginning of the week when you are matched with a child.
If you are adopting a child you are fostering you must be matched for adoption by a
recognised agency to be eligible for Statutory Adoption Leave or Pay.
You must give your employer documentary proof to show that you have the right to
Statutory Adoption Leave and Pay. This is usually a matching certificate or a letter from
your adoption agency. The adoption agency must be recognised in the UK.
Factsheet 5 © Adoption UK May 2013
Taking your Statutory Adoption Leave
If you qualify you have the right to 52 weeks of Statutory Adoption Leave. This is made up of 26
weeks of ordinary adoption leave followed by 26 weeks of additional adoption leave.
You can start your leave either:
from the date the child starts living with you
up to 14 days before the date you expect the child to start living with you
and your leave can start on any day of the week.
You need to tell your employer that you want to take statutory adoption leave within seven
days of being told that you have been matched with a child. If this is not possible, you must tell
them as soon as you can.
At the same time you must tell your employer:
when you expect the child to be placed with you
When you want your Statutory Adoption Leave to start. You can change this date as
long as you give your employer at least 28 days notice.
You can return to work earlier than the end of the 52 weeks as long as you give your employer
eight weeks’ notice. As you are required to provide this notice you may chose to advise your
employer that you intend to take your full entitlement of 52 weeks and see how you and the
children adapt to being a family. By advising your employer that you intend to take full leave
you remove any pressure if the children find settling more challenging that had been first
thought; this may especially apply to older children or sibling groups.
You are entitled to the benefits of the normal terms and conditions of your employment during
adoption leave.
Reasonable contact and keeping in touch days
Legislation makes it clear that ‘reasonable contact’ between you and your employer will not
bring the period of statutory leave to an end. This means that your employer can contact
you to discuss your return to work or to keep you informed of important events and
changes at work.
During the period of your adoption leave you can, if you wish, carry out up to 10
‘keeping in touch’ (KIT) days. KIT days are not compulsory and cannot be taken within the
first two weeks of a placement.
A KIT day counts as a day in full, even if you only attend for part of the day. This means that
your employer cannot request that you attend 20 half days. All KIT days should be arranged
by agreement so that you, as an employee, have a say in when these days might occur e.g.
Factsheet 5 © Adoption UK May 2013
you do not have to agree to attend specific meetings or training. You do not have to take any
KIT days if you do not wish to do so.
You will be paid statutory adoption pay for the week in which the KIT day falls. You may be
paid in addition to your statutory adoption pay; this is a matter between you and your
Statutory Adoption Pay
This begins at the same time as your adoption leave and runs for 39 weeks, unless you
finish your Statutory Adoption Leave earlier. The current weekly rate from 9th April 2 0 1 3
is £136.78 or 90 per cent of your average weekly earnings, whichever is less.
From 3 April 2011 Statutory Adoption Leave runs for 52 weeks and can be split between
adopting couples (see details below).
To qualify you must have been:
matched with a child for adoption by an adoption agency
employed by your present employer without a break for at least 26 weeks up to
and including the week the adoption agency told you that you had been matched
with a child
earning an average of at least £109 a week (before tax) (Figures as at April2013).
How and when to claim
You must give your employer documentary evidence from the adoption agency.
This will usually be a ‘matching certificate’
You must also tell your employer when you intend to take leave within seven days of being
told by the adoption agency that you’ve been matched with a child
You can choose when to start getting your Statutory Adoption Pay. It can start from the date
of the child’s placement or up to 14 days before the expected date of the placement
If you have more than one job, you may be able to get Statutory Adoption Pay from each
employer. If you have two contracts of employment and meet the qualifying criteria under
each contract you may be paid SAP for both jobs.
Who should take Statutory Adoption Pay
When only one of a couple is employed this person can decide to take either Statutory
Adoption Pay and leave or Statutory Paternity Pay and leave.
If your employer offers you additional contractual arrangements, such as full or half pay,
you may find that you could take, for example, six weeks Statutory Adoption Leave and Pay
at full pay under these additional contractual arrangements and return to work after this
period. This means, in practice, that you could enjoy quality family time together at the
Factsheet 5 © Adoption UK May 2013
beginning of a placement. If no additional contractual pay is available this option
may not be so enticing.
You will not qualify for Statutory Adoption Leave or Pay if you:
arrange a private adoption
become a special guardian
adopt a stepchild
have a child through surrogacy
are self employed – you may want to investigate with the adoption agency placing your
child if they would consider making payments equal to SAP from their Adoption Support
Services budget.
Statutory Paternity Leave
see www.gov.uk
What is statutory paternity leave?
Following the placement of an adopted child/ren, eligible adopters can take leave to care for the
new family member/s and to support their partner. This can be either person in a couple,
regardless of gender.
Who will be entitled to take paternity leave?
You must have a minimum of 26 weeks continuous employment with the same employer
by the end of the week in which the child is matched. If you have two employers and
fulfil the criteria for both you are entitled to paternity leave from both employers
You will be the child’s adopter
You must live together (including same sex relationships).
How much leave?
You can take either one or two weeks’ leave. You can’t take odd days off and if you have
2 weeks they must be taken together
Leave must be taken and completed within 56 days of the placement
Only one period of leave is due irrespective of the number of children placed at any one
A week is based on your usual working pattern. So, if you work Mondays and Tuesdays only,
a week would be two days or, if you work Monday to Friday, a week would be five days.
Factsheet 5 © Adoption UK May 2013
How much notice is required?
You may wish to inform your employer when you have been approved as adopters but
there is no legal requirement to do this. Legally you must tell your employer:
Within 7 days of being notified by the adoption agency that you have been matched
with a child
The date the child will be placed
Request for one or two weeks leave
Date you are requesting to start your leave.
You should try to give this information to your employer at least 28 days before you want
your paternity leave to start. This is not always possible and if your employer believes you do
not have good reason for not giving the required notice they can refuse to pay you statutory
paternity pay. If the date of placement changes you must inform your employer as soon as is
Statutory Paternity Pay
Who is eligible?
 You must have worked for the same employer for 26 weeks by the week in which you
were matched for adoption
 You must earn at least the lower earnings limit to qualify for Paternity Pay (£109 per
week before tax - figures correct as at April 2013)
 Paternity Pay is £136.78 per week (from 9 April 2013) or 90% of your earnings if this is
less. For Tax Credit purposes the first £100 is ignored as income
 You cannot receive Paternity Pay for any week that you are in receipt of statutory sick
 Self-employed people have no eligibility to Statutory Paternity Pay but may be eligible
for equal payments of Adoption Financial Support through the adoption agency placing
the child.
From 3 April 2011 additional paternity leave and pay may be available if:
 You and your partner receive notification that you are matched with a child for
adoption on or after 3 April 2011
 The partner, with whom you are adopting, is entitled to statutory maternity leave,
maternity pay or allowance or statutory adoption leave or pay
Additional paternity leave is for a maximum of 26 weeks. Leave can start anytime between 20
weeks and 52 weeks after the placement date if your partner has returned to work. It must stop
within one year of the date the child started living with you and you must give your employer six
weeks’ notice if you want to change your additional leave start or end date.
Factsheet 5 © Adoption UK May 2013
To qualify for additional paternity leave and pay employers must receive notice in writing at least
eight weeks before the start of the leave. This notice must include:
The date that you were notified of being matched w i t h a c h i l d for adoption
The placement date
The start date of the additional paternity leave and pay
Your relationship to your partner and their entitlement to SAP.
You must also state that the additional paternity leave is taken to care for the child.
For Additional Paternity leave to be taken the person with whom you are adopting must
have qualified for statutory adoption leave and pay and have returned to work. Periods of
annual leave, sick leave or parental leave which directly follow adoption leave will not
count as a return to work.
Useful Contacts
The above information taken from this government website:
www.gov.uk and
Catherine Holliday, Specialist Adoption Welfare Rights Officer. There is an option to view these
pages in Welsh.
The Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service www.acas.org.uk offers free, confidential and
impartial advice on employment rights issues. Tel: 0845 747 4747
Citizens Advice Bureau – find your nearest CAB at www.citizensadvice.org.uk
Further advice available on www.adviceguide.org.uk
Working Families Free Legal Helpline www.workingfamilies.org.uk Tel: 0800 013 0313
Factsheet 5 © Adoption UK May 2013
Adoption UK is a charity and depends on membership, grants and donations to operate our
support services. If you have found our information and support helpful and would like to make a
donation please visit www.adoptionuk.org or telephone 01295 752240
Factsheet 5 © Adoption UK May 2013