Adoption leave and pay will be available to eligible employees who adopt. Where a couple is adopting jointly, the couple may choose which partner takes adoption leave. The partner who does not take the adoption leave may be entitled to paternity leave and pay.
To be eligible for adoption leave, you must be newly matched with a child for adoption by an approved adoption agency.
Length of leave
You are entitled to up to 26 weeks’ ordinary adoption leave (OAL) followed immediately by up to 26 weeks’ additional adoption leave (AAL). Only one period of leave is available even if you are adopting more than one child.
Adoption leave can start from the date of the child’s placement (whether this is earlier or later than expected) or from a date which can be up to 14 days before the expected date of placement.
Time off to attend adoption appointments
If you are eligible for and (if adopting jointly with another person) you are taking adoption leave, you are entitled to take paid time off work to attend adoption appointments which are for the purpose of having contact with the child that is to be placed with you or for any other purpose connected with the adoption, and have been arranged by or at the request of the adoption agency which notified you of the placement. You should inform us as soon as possible of the time and date of appointment.
If you are adopting jointly with another person but are not taking adoption leave, then you are entitled to take unpaid time off work to attend adoption appointments. You should inform us as soon as possible of the time and date of appointment.
If you have at least 26 weeks’ service before being matched with the child and, if adopting jointly, you are electing to take OAL, you will normally be entitled to receive statutory adoption pay (SAP) whether or not you intend to return to work.
SAP is payable for a maximum of 39 weeks, meaning that the last 13 weeks of AAL are unpaid. For the first six weeks of adoption leave you will be paid at the rate of 90% of your average earnings. After this time, you will be paid at the statutory adoption pay rate which is payable at the time or 90% of your weekly earnings, whichever is the lower. Your SAP will be paid into your bank account on the same date that you would have received your salary and will be subject to the usual deductions for tax, National Insurance and pension contributions.
You are required to inform us in writing of your intention to take adoption leave within seven days of being notified that you have been matched with a child for adoption, unless this is not reasonably practicable. You will also have to provide us with a ‘matching certificate’ from the adoption agency.
If you want to change the start date of your adoption leave you must inform us at least 28 days in advance, unless this is not reasonably practicable.
You will receive written confirmation from us within 28 days of our receiving your notice. The confirmation will set out the date on which you are expected to return to work if the full entitlement to adoption leave is taken.
You will continue to receive your contractual benefits, other than remuneration during adoption leave. In particular, any benefits in kind will continue and annual leave entitlement will continue to accrue.
Pension contributions will continue to be made during any period when you are receiving SAP but not during any period of unpaid AAL. Employer contributions will be based on your normal salary, in accordance with the pension scheme rules. Employee contributions you make will be based on the amount of adoption pay you are receiving.
While you are on adoption leave your holiday entitlement continues to accrue. We reserve the right to require you to take blocks of annual leave either immediately before or immediately after your period of adoption leave.
Keeping in touch (“KIT”) days
You may work for up to 10 days Keeping in Touch (KIT) days during your adoption leave without affecting your eligibility to SAP. You are under no obligation to work these days, and we are under no obligation to offer them to you. If you do work a KIT day, your rate of pay for the day will be agreed between us at the time and will normally equate to your normal rate of pay.
Return to work
If you do not give any notice to the contrary, it will be assumed that your adoption leave will last 52 weeks. Although you are not required to give any formal notice of returning to work at the end of 52 weeks, it helps us to plan for your return if you contact us in advance to discuss your return. If you wish to return to work before the end of your adoption leave period, you must give at least eight weeks’ advance notice in writing of the date on which you intend to return
You will usually return to the original job that you held prior to going off on adoption leave. In certain circumstances we are not obliged to have you return to exactly the same job if this is not reasonably practicable. In these circumstances, you will be offered a reasonable alternative role with terms and conditions no less favourable than the original job. If this is the case, we will discuss your particular circumstances with you at the relevant time.
If you decide not to return to work, you must give notice in accordance with the terms of your contract. If you have received pay in excess of SAP you will have to repay this amount to us upon termination of your employment.
Shared parental leave
If you would like to end your adoption leave period early and take shared parental leave with your partner, you should refer to the terms of the Shared Parental Leave Policy contained in this handbook for further information regarding the eligibility and notification requirements relating to Shared Parental Leave and Statutory Shared Parental Pay.