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Statutory Adoption Pay and Leave

Are you an employee taking time off to adopt a child or to have a child through a surrogacy arrangement? If so, you may qualify for Statutory Adoption Leave and get Statutory Adoption Pay.

Entitlement to Adoption Leave and Pay is dependent on having a child matched and placed through an adoption agency. This guide explains the eligibility criteria, how much you can get, and how to claim.

Employment Rights for Adoption Leave UK

Your employee rights when on leave will remain protected even while you take Statutory Adoption Leave.

Thus, taking time off work to adopt a child means you would NOT lose your automatic right to:

  • Accrue (build up) holiday
  • Make a return to work
  • Receive staff pay rises

>Note: Details below explain the rules that relate to when and how to claim paid leave and changing leave dates. In some cases, you may qualify to take Shared Parental Leave and Pay.

Statutory Adoption Leave

Employees who qualify can take up to 52 weeks off work. One year of Statutory Adoption Leave contains two (2) separate components:

  • The first 26 weeks of Ordinary Adoption Leave.
  • The final 26 weeks of Additional Adoption Leave.

The rules on adoption leave allow only one person out of a couple to take the adoption leave. It means the other partner may need to take paternity leave instead.

Qualifying for adoption leave means you can also get paid time off work to attend five (5) adoption appointments. But, it only applies after you get matched with a child.

Note: Once you get matched with a child you can plan your adoption leave to work out dates for time off work.

Adoption Leave Start Date Can Be:

  • Up to fourteen (14) days before the date that the child starts living with the adoptee (for UK adoptions).
  • The day of the birth or the day after (if using a surrogate to have a child).
  • When the child arrives in the United Kingdom or within 28 days of this date (for overseas adoptions).

Note: You would have 28 days to notify your employer if the date of placement (or arrival date into the United Kingdom) changes. Employers need at least eight (8) weeks of notice to change a return to work date.

Statutory Adoption Pay

Qualifying claimants can get the UK Statutory Adoption Pay entitlement for 39 weeks. You will receive:

  • For the first 6 weeks: 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax).
  • For the 33 weeks left: £156.66 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (the lower amount).

Normal employment rules apply to Statutory Adoption Pay. Thus, payments are weekly or monthly the same as regular wages. Your employer will deduct Income Tax and National Insurance contributions in the usual way.

Company Adoption Pay Schemes

You could get extra pay if your employer has set up a company adoption pay scheme. Even so, employers cannot offer less than the statutory amount even if they have not set up this kind of scheme.

Statutory Adoption Pay Start Date

The initial date for getting UK Statutory Adoption Pay would begin when you start taking your adoption leave.

Statutory Adoption Pay and Leave: Problems and Disputes

The Statutory Payment Disputes Team can help with certain disagreements (e.g. how much Statutory Adoption Pay you get). They can also offer advice in cases where an employer cannot pay it (e.g. due to insolvency).

Statutory Payment Disputes Team
Telephone: 0300 322 9422
Information on call charges.

Statutory Adoption Leave Eligibility

In order to qualify for Statutory Adoption Leave, you would need to be an employee, give the correct amount of notice, and provide proof of the adoption or surrogacy (if asked).

To meet the eligibility criteria to get Statutory Adoption Pay, you must have been continuously employed by your employer for at least 26 weeks by the week you got matched with a child, and:

  • Earn at least £123 a week (before tax) as an average.
  • Give the correct amount of notice.
  • Provide proof of the adoption or surrogacy.

Note: Some of the adoption rules on pay and leave vary if you adopt a child from overseas or you have a child as part of a surrogacy arrangement.

Conditions for Overseas Adoptions

  • You would need to sign form SC6 to adopt a child with your partner.
  • You need 26 weeks of continuous employment at the time you get the ‘official notification’ or when you start to get Adoption Pay. In some cases, you can get more time to complete it.

Note: Official notification grants permission from a UK authority to adopt a child from abroad. Form SC6 provides confirmation that you are not taking paternity leave or pay.

Using Surrogacy Arrangements

  • You must have been in continuous employment with your employer for at least 26 weeks by the 15th week before the due date of the baby.
  • You must have intentions of applying for a parental order and expect to have it granted (e.g. have no convictions involving children, have agreement from the birth mother or father).

Note: Being genetically related to the child (e.g. the egg or the sperm donor) means you would have a choice of getting paternity leave and pay instead (not both).

Fostering for Adoption

Providing you meet the eligibility criteria for adoption pay and leave, you would get them from the time when the child comes to live with you.

There are some exceptions and you would not qualify for Statutory Adoption Leave or Pay if you:

  • Arrange a private adoption
  • Adopt a stepchild or a family member
  • Become a special guardian or kinship carer

If You Fail to Qualify

Your employer must provide you with form SAP1 if you are not eligible to claim. The document explains why you cannot get Statutory Adoption Pay. Your local council may provide extra support if you are adopting a child.

Claiming Statutory Adoption Leave and Pay

Some of the rules differ for people who are adopting children from overseas of the United Kingdom or those who are having a child through a surrogacy arrangement.

Statutory Adoption Leave

You must inform your employer (within seven days of being matched with a child):

  • How much leave from work you want to take.
  • The start date for your leave period.
  • The ‘date of placement’ (when the child gets placed with you).

In some cases your employer will ask you to give them this information in writing. Even so, within 28 days, your employer must write to you and confirm your start and end dates. You can use the adoption leave planner to help you work out the dates.

Statutory Adoption Pay

Inform your employer that you plan on stopping work to adopt a child. You would also need to tell them when you want your Statutory Adoption Pay to start. Employers need a minimum of 28 days of notice. Your employer may ask for it in writing and they might need some proof of the adoption.

Employers need to confirm how much Statutory Adoption Pay you will get (within 28 days) and the start and stop dates. Your employer must give you form SAP1 (within 7 days) if you are ineligible to claim with a reason for their decision.

Providing Proof of Adoption

Your employer will need proof of adoption for you to qualify for Statutory Adoption Pay. As a rule, proof is not a requirement for Statutory Adoption Leave (unless they ask for it).

The documents you use as proof must show:

  • Your name and address (and the agency you used).
  • The match date (e.g. the matching certificate) and the date of placement (e.g. a letter from the adoption agency).
  • An ‘official notification’ from the relevant UK authority that confirms you can adopt (for overseas adoptions only) and the date that the child arrived in the United Kingdom (e.g. a plane ticket).

Overseas Adoptions

If you are adopting a child from abroad you must notify your employer with information that includes:

  • The date of the ‘official notification’ and the estimated date of when the child arrives in the United Kingdom (within 28 days of getting the notification).
  • The actual date that the child arrives in the United Kingdom (within 28 days of the actual date).
  • The amount of leave you want and the start date (giving them at least 28 days of notice).

Using Surrogacy Arrangements

People who use a surrogate to have a baby will need to (sometimes in writing):

  • Inform their employer of the baby’s due date)
  • The start date for the leave period (at least 15 weeks before the expected week of birth).

Employers can ask for a written statement or ‘statutory declaration’. The purpose of this is to confirm that you already applied, or will apply, for a parental order (no longer than 6 months after the birth). If so, you would need to sign it in the presence of a legal professional (e.g. a solicitor).

How Statutory Adoption Pay and Leave Works in United Kingdom