Adoption leave and pay entitlements

  • Leave and Absence
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Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

Do your employees have the right to pay when on adoption leave? We explain your business’ legal standing—and we can help with all your employment law needs.

If you have an employee looking to take time off and adopt a child, then you might wonder what your employer rights are.  

For immediate assistance with adoption leave in the UK, you can contact us on 0800 028 2420.

Or you can read this guide, which covers the essential employment laws your business needs to know.

Adoption leave—essential information

Fundamentally, from day one of their employment, employees who meet qualifying criteria have the entitlement of up to 52 weeks of adoption leave.

Like maternity leave, statutory adoption leave is split into ordinary and additional adoption leave.

Employees may ask you, “Do you get paternity leave for adoption?” Adoption leave legislation outlines that, in situations where a couple are jointly looking to adopt a child, they need to decide amongst themselves who’ll become the “main adopter”. And who’ll become the partner.

The main adopter will be able to take the full entitlement to adoption leave, which can essentially be classed as maternity leave for adopted child.

Their partner should seek to take paternity leave as normal.

The ‘main adopter’ also has entitlement to time off with pay for up to five adoption appointments.

Whereas the secondary adopter only has entitlement to unpaid time off for up to two appointments.

The employee can work up to 10 “keeping in touch days” (KIT days) during the period of adoption leave though any days to be used.

And the amount of pay for these days, should be mutually agreed in advance by the employer and employee.

Unlike maternity leave, there’s no such thing as compulsory adoption leave.

Under adoption leave entitlement in the UK, employees are free to take as much of this leave as they like.

If for some reason the placement isn’t successful and ends during the adoption leave period (or the child dies), the employee can continue the leave for a maximum of eight weeks after the placement ends.

How Peninsula Business Services can help

When you’re busy running your company, dealing with time-consuming employee requests can distract away from your daily operations.

But adoption is a wonderful choice and your business can choose to support employees.

However, if you need guidance with the right procedures then HR outsourcing services will provide you with essential support.

Since 1983, we’ve supported tens of thousands of businesses with HR and employment law issues. We also provide health & safety managed services.

If you need our support on any business matter, get in touch—we’re here to help.

Adoption leave pay entitlement

Changes to adoption leave and pay in 2015 dictate that Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) is payable in a way that mirrors maternity pay. This means that:

  • SAP is payable to eligible employees for up to 39 weeks.
  • The first six weeks is paid at 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings.
  • The remaining 33 weeks is paid at the lower of the statutory rate (or 90% of the average weekly earnings—whichever is lower).

You’re free to run a company adoption pay scheme. And you can do so in the same way as a maternity pay scheme, which offers more than the statutory rate—but can’t offer less.

For Eligibility to SAP, the employee needs to have worked for the business for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks. That’s by the week they were matched with the child.

And they must earn at least the lower earnings limit, alongside giving the correct notice and proof of the adoption.

Shared parental leave adoption

Employees with a child placed for adoption may be eligible to take periods of shared parental leave on a flexible basis.

That’s if the parent taking adoption leave brings their adoption leave and/or pay to an end early.

The remaining period of leave and pay can be converted into shared parental leave, which the parents can divide between them.

Need our help?

Get in touch with any questions you have regarding adoption leave, your employees, and your business. We’re here to help: 0800 028 2420.


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