Statutory Adoption Leave & Adoption Pay

An employee who has had a child placed with them for adoption is entitled to Ordinary Adoption Leave and Additional Adoption Leave at the same level as for Statutory Maternity Leave. This is, in the case of Ordinary Adoption Leave, 26 weeks and Additional leave of a further 26 weeks. An employee must have been matched with a child by an approved adoption agency and must give their employer a 'matching certificate' from an approved adoption agency, (or in the case of overseas adoptions a certificate of eligibility and suitability as well as notifying the employer that the child has entered Britain).

Statutory Adoption Pay is paid for up to 39 weeks at the standard rate of statutory pay, currently £184.03 per week or 90% of the employee's average weekly earnings, whichever is the lower. For overseas adoption leave and pay cannot begin until the child has entered Britain and in any case no later than 28 days thereafter. Otherwise, leave and pay ordinarily starts 14 days before the expected date of placement.

The provisions apply to both married couples and single people who adopt and applies to placements for children up to 18 years old.

In the case of a married couple, only one of them will be entitled to take the leave. However, the other will be entitled to the two weeks paternity leave (if they qualify).

Adoption leave and pay do not apply to stepfamily adoptions. Foster carers will qualify if they go on to adopt the child and the child was placed with them by an adoption agency. Foster carers also have the right to request flexible working to care for a child under six years of age or a disabled child under 18.

The employee must have completed a qualifying period of employment. This is at least 26 weeks by the week in which the approved match with the child is made. They must comply with notification requirements and have average weekly earnings equal to or above the lower earnings limit applying to National Insurance Contributions - £123 per week.

Like maternity leave, an employee can vary the date notified for taking Adoption Leave. Employees who want to return to work earlier or later than agreed must give eight weeks notice, (unless the employer accepts less notice).

An employee can also work for up to 10 days during adoption leave under the "stay in touch" provisions, without losing the right to adoption pay.

An employee has the right to return to the same job following Ordinary Adoption Leave and is protected from unfair dismissal related to adoption leave.

Employers can reclaim Statutory Adoption Pay in the same way as for Statutory Maternity Pay.

Flexible Working for employees

Employment Law