01603 214 220

Employment Law and Statutory Adoption Leave: what are your rights?


Author: Bengi Karakus


Employment Law and Statutory Adoption Leave: what are your rights?

Employment Law and Statutory Adoption Leave: what are your rights?

The 12 – 18 October is National Adoption Week which aims to improve the public perception of adoption, raise awareness of the children in the UK who are waiting for new homes, and to help prospective parents learn more about the process of adoption.

Our Trainee Solicitor, Bengi Karakus, has been looking at adoption, and specifically Statutory Adoption Leave, from an Employment Law perspective.

What is Statutory Adoption Leave?

  • Statutory Adoption Leave is a leave of absence from work granted to a new adoptive parent to care for their new child(ren)
  • Statutory means the legal minimum an employer must give their employee. Some employers may offer more generous schemes
  • Statutory Adoption Leave lasts for up to 52 weeks (the same as Maternity Leave). This is made up of:
    • 26 weeks Ordinary Adoption Leave – this is the initial 26 weeks of leave
    • 26 weeks Additional Adoption Leave – this is the further 26 weeks of optional leave
  • Only one parent is entitled to Adoption Leave; the other partner may be entitled to Paternity Leave or a couple may be able to use Shared Parental Leave

When can I apply for Statutory Adoption Leave?

A new adoptive parent is entitled to apply for Statutory Adoption Leave when they are:

  • Adopting a child – of any age
  • Fostering a child permanently and becoming their legal parent (‘fostering to adopt’)
  • Becoming the legal parent within six months of a child’s birth

The adoptive parent must have been matched with the child through an adoption agency. This means that an adoptive parent is not entitled to take adoption leave for a private adoption (e.g. if they are adopting or fostering to adopt a relative).

Am I eligible for Statutory Adoption Leave?

The new adoptive parent must:

  • Be an Employee – there is no qualifying period in employment – adoption leave is a ‘day one’ right
  • Give the correct written notice:
  • Notice should be given to their employer within seven days of being notified that they are matched with a child or expecting a fostering for adoption placement
  • Indicate in the notice how much leave is required, when the leave will start, the date of the placement (the expected/actual date the child is placed with them)
  • Further to this, they have 28 days to confirm the leave start and leave end date
  • Give proof of adoption (if their employer asks for it)

What are my employment rights whilst on Statutory Adoption Leave?

An individual’s employment rights are protected whist they are on Statutory Adoption Leave including their right to:

  • · Pay rises
  • · Accruing holiday
  • · Return to work

Keeping in Touch days during Adoption Leave

A new adoptive parent may choose to work for up to 10 days during their adoption leave without it affecting their leave or pay. These are called Keeping In Touch (KIT) days which may be used to keep up to date with the workplace and help with their return to work.

The employee can agree how many KIT days they will take, what type of work they will do on the days and how much they will get paid for the work (outside of the statutory adoption pay they are entitled to) with their employer.

How much is Statutory Adoption Pay?

  • Statutory Adoption Pay is paid for 39 weeks (the same as Maternity Pay)
  • For the first six weeks, the new adoptive parent will receive 90% of their average weekly earnings
  • For the following 33 weeks, they will receive the lower of:
  • Statutory Adoption Pay – currently £151.20 per week
  • 90% of their average weekly earnings

Am I eligible to apply for Statutory Adoption Pay?

To be eligible to apply for Statutory Adoption Pay, the employee must have:

  • Been continuously employed for at least 26 weeks
  • Been earning at least £120 a week, before tax, or at least eight weeks before the week they are matched with a child
  • Given the correct notice to their employer
  • Provided proof they are adopting or fostering through an adoption agency

The new adoptive parent may still qualify for statutory adoption leave even where they are not eligible for statutory adoption pay.

How is Statutory Adoption Leave affected by adopting two or more children in the same placement?

If a parent adopts or fosters to adopt two or more children in the same placement, they are only entitled to one period of adoption leave.

If it is a separate placement, they will be entitled to a second period of adoption leave which will restart when the second placement begins.

We are experienced in advising employers and employees about all aspects of Employment Law rights including contracts, policies and maternity and parental rights. Contact our Employment Law team in Norwich via 01603 660 811 or email info@hatchbrenner.co.uk

If you would like further information about any service, call us on 01603 214220