Am I entitled to adoption leave and pay from my employer?

Adoption leave and pay entitlements in the workplace

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On 1 April 2007, new regulations came into force for maternity, paternity and adoption leave and pay. Adopters matched with a child on or after this date are entitled to up to 39 weeks of Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) and a total of 52 weeks of Statutory Adoption Leave (only paid for the first 39 weeks), from their employer.

To be eligible for the above, you must inform your employer within seven days of being matched with a child, and provide relevant documentation, usually a ‘matching certificate’. This also includes local authority foster carers who have been looking after a child whom the agency then decides to place with them for adoption.

SAP and Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) is £124.88 per week, or 90 per cent of your average weekly earnings, if this is less. If you are the ‘supporting’ partner of someone adopting a child, you are entitled to SPP and 'paternity' leave of one or two whole weeks, to be taken up to 56 days after the child is placed. An adopting couple may choose who takes adoption leave and who takes paternity leave, irrespective of gender, for that reason.

Adoption leave and pay is also available for intercountry adopters, although there are slight variations on the provision. There is no adoption leave or pay entitlement for adoptions that are not the result of an agency placement, such as step-parent adoptions.

Many employers now offer flexible working arrangements to help carers meet their childcare commitments. Some employees with parental responsibility for a child have a statutory right to apply for flexible working hours, including adoptive parents and carers with a Special Guardianship order.

For more information, see Directgov's information on statutory adoption leave, statutory adoption pay, and flexible working

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Last updated: 05 October 10

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