Adoption Leave

At work, you may wonder what to do when an employee is adopting a child.

Employees are legally entitled to take time off work to have a child. This is regardless of whether they are giving birth or adopting.

If you don’t provide adoption leave rights, you could face discrimination claims. These claims could lead to tribunal hearings, costly fees, and hefty business damages.

In this guide, discover what adoption leave is, which employees are entitled to it, and what laws you need to adhere to.

What is Adoption Leave?

Adoption leave is provided to employees who request time off when adopting a child. It also applies to those going through surrogacy arrangements.

This type of leave is an opportunity to build bonds and care for their child (or children).

Statutory adoption leave allows employees to take up to 52 weeks off work. The first half is known as ordinary adoption leave, while the other half is known as additional adoption leave.

What Does the Law Say on Adoption Leave?

Under The Paternity and Adoption Leave Regulations 2002, an employee is entitled to adoption leave if they meet the following conditions.

To qualify, they must:

  • Be an employee.
  • Give the correct notice – refer to your employee’s contract.
  • Provide proof of adoption or surrogacy, if needed.

If adopting from overseas, your employee will need to sign a form for adopting a child.

How Much is Adoption Leave Pay?

Statutory adoption pay is provided for up to 39 weeks. The payment starts as soon as your employee takes adoption leave.

For the first six weeks of adoption leave, your employee will get 90% of their weekly earnings.

During the following 33 weeks, they will keep receiving the 90% payment or £151.97 per week, whichever one is lower.

Employees are entitled to adoption leave pay if they meet the following requirements:

  • Worked for 26 weeks (up to the time they’re matched with their child).
  • Earn £120 a week before tax.
  • Give the correct amount of notice.
  • Provide proof of the adoption or surrogacy.

Are There Any Exceptions?

An employee does not qualify for Statutory Adoption Leave or Pay if they:

  • Have a private adoption.
  • Adopt a stepchild.
  • Adopt a family member.
  • Become a special guardian.

You must inform them why they cannot get Statutory Adoption Pay. In this case, they may be able to contact their local council to see if they’re eligible for adoption pay.

Surrogacy Arrangement and Pay

A surrogacy arrangement is a practice where a person willingly carries a child for someone else. This is with the intention that the baby will be handed over at birth.

For an employee having a child through a surrogacy arrangement, they may be entitled to adoption leave and pay. But they must request to be the child’s legal parent within 6 months of the birth.

There are a few more requirements needed. They must also apply for a parental order and expect the order to be allowed.

If the employee is related to the child, they can opt for adoption leave and shared parental leave.

Returning to Work After Adoption Leave

Before your employee leaves, you must establish when they intend to return to work.

If your employee wants to change the date of their return, they must provide eight weeks’ notice. But this will be up to your discretion.

In some cases, an employee may decide not to return to work. Here, you need to refer to their contract to see how much notice they must give.

Can you change the job for your employee after adoption leave?

If an employee has taken 26 weeks’ adoption leave, they have the right to return to the same job.

But if they’ve taken more, this right still stands–unless you have a good reason for providing a different job.

The job speculations for the new job cannot be worse than the previous one. For example, it must not include:

Can You Dismiss an Employee Returning from Adoption Leave?

You cannot dismiss or discriminate against an employee returning from adoption leave.

The employee could escalate unfair dismissal claims, leading to an employment tribunal hearing.

Get Advice on Adoption Leave with BrightHR

Every employee has the right to ask for adoption leave. Whether your employee is adopting a child or arranging a surrogacy, legal rules must be followed.

Neglecting your employee’s rights could lead to discrimination claims and if escalated, tribunal hearings. This could affect your business’ reputation and lead to costly compensation payments.

BrightHR can help you manage adoption leave with our HR software and assist you with any questions you may have.

If you need any advice on adoption leave, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our experts.

Book in a free demo or give us a call on 0800 7832 806

Have a question?

Ask away, we’ve got lightning fast answers for UK business owners and employers powered by qualified experts.


    Share this article

    More on leave and absence

    Do you have an absence management policy?

    Bad news: sometimes your staff are going to be off sick . But fear not! At the end of this guide, you'll know all you need to know about…

    Absenteeism

    Sometimes your staff will get sick and need time-off, but occasionally they might try to “pull a sickie”. And once they know they can get…

    Employee annual leave

    It’s generally agreed that a healthy balance between work and time off is essential for a healthy and happy workforce. Your organisation…

    Compassionate leave and bereavement leave

    It's a grim reality that some of your staff will lose their loved ones while working for you. In these instances, people need time off to…

    Garden Leave

    This peculiar term causes quite a lot of confusion in the business world. It throws up images of employees taking time off to tend to their…

    Holiday request forms

    The unpredictability of staff absences can make it a challenging HR task—and a costly one. The average UK worker is absent almost seven days…

    Are your employees skiving?

    Whether they're skiving at work or they're pulling a sickie away from the office, an employee not doing their job properly will count as…

    Long-Term Sickness

    For many businesses, managing long-term sickness can prove to be difficult. Long-term leave can add strain and create a financial burden on…

    What is maternity leave and pay?

    It was only in 1993 that all working women were permitted to take paid maternity leave in the UK. Thankfully, most companies are now much…

    Parental Leave

    From time to time, your employees may have to take time off to look after their children. Parental leave can benefit your workforce, as it…

    Presenteeism in the workplace

    There’s a new-fangled practice in the business world. It’s “presenteeism” and some employees, and potentially even business owners, think it…

    Returning to work

    Whether your employee has been away on sabbatical, has been taken ill, or has been raising a newborn, it will take time for them to readjust…

    Employee returning to work after suspension

    When you suspend a member of staff, they’re still employed for you but don’t attend work. In fact, they should do no work for you at all…

    Sick Leave

    If you're looking for up-to-date information on COVID-19 and sick pay, please visit our coronavirus factsheet. It’s a fact of life that…

    What is the Bradford Factor?

    The Bradford Factor is a simple formula that lets you monitor employee absenteeism over a set period, such as the current business year…

    What you need to know about time off in lieu of overtime

    What is time off in lieu (TOIL) of overtime? Time off in lieu (TOIL) of overtime is where you agree with your employee that you'll reward…

    Time off for stress

    Most of us deal with stress on a daily basis, often in the workplace. But for some—over a long period of time—it can become overwhelming…

    Types of Clocking in Systems

    If your business has hourly employees then you’ll need a system to help with clocking in and out. One that monitors start and finish times…

    How should you manage unauthorised absence?

    What is unauthorised absence? Unauthorised absence is when one of your staff fails to come to work without a good reason. It goes without…

    Furlough guide for employers

    Furlough is now a business buzzword. Most professionals hadn’t heard of it before—now it’s everywhere and you can’t avoid it. For businesses…

    Flexible furlough scheme

    The coronavirus lockdown situation is changing rapidly. And with it, the UK government is making adjustments to the Job Retention Scheme…

    Clocking in and out systems for small businesses

    Although it may seem like a minor part of your business’ daily routine, how your employees arrive and leave is essential. When they clock in…

    The Benefits of Using a Clocking In App

    The working hours of your staff are fundamental to a profitable business. If staff are consistently early or late, it can have a negative…

    Absenteeism Rate

    From time to time, employees may miss work due to hundreds of reasons. You should expect your staff to be off for sickness or other causes…

    Absence Review Meeting

    From time to time, your employees will take time off. But, when an employee is off far too often, it may raise concerns for your business…

    Carers Leave

    Being a carer can often be unpredictable and arrangements can be tricky to balance in the workplace. To make your employees (who may be…

    Emergency Leave

    Leave can be a tricky subject to define for both staff and employers, especially when dealing with an absence without notice. Emergency…

    Sick Building Syndrome

    In the workplace, various types of illnesses can develop. Some may be more uncommon than others, so it’s important to keep an eye on each of…

    Late for Work

    From time to time, some of your employees will be late to work. Whether they are delayed in traffic, their car has broken down, or have…

    Overtime

    As an employer, you must include several terms of employment in an employee’s contract. There may be occasions when an employee is asked to…