Blog: Adoption Leave

with Dean Hunter, Founder of Hunter Adams and Lead HR Trustee of Parents and Children Together (PACT)

This Q&A accompanies an edition of PACT’s Talking Adoption Show where Dean answers some of the most commonly asked questions about adoption leave. You can watch the full interview with Dean on our Youtube channel here.

What is adoption leave?

Adoption leave is available to individuals who adopt a child. Where a couple adopt jointly, the couple need to choose which partner takes adoption leave as only one of the individuals can choose to take adoption leave. This partner is usually referred to as the primary or main adopter.

Who is entitled to adoption leave?

An employee is entitled to adoption leave if they meet all the following conditions:
•They are adopting a child through a UK or overseas adoption agency.
•The adoption agency has given them written notice that it has matched them with a child for adoption and tells the individual the date the child is expected to be placed into their care with a view to adoption (expected placement date).
•They have notified the agency that they agree to the child being placed with them on the expected placement date.
•Their spouse or partner will not be taking adoption leave with their employer (although they may be entitled to take paternity leave or shared parental leave).

Adoption leave and Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) are not available in the following circumstances:
•Where a child is not newly matched for adoption, e.g. adopting a family member or step-child.
•A private adoption, not arranged by an adoption agency.
•Becoming a special guardian or kinship carer.

If you are in a couple, can both people take adoption leave?

If you are in a couple, only one partner can take adoption leave, therefore the couple need to choose which partner takes adoption leave. The partner of an individual who adopts, or the other person of a couple who are adopting jointly, may be entitled to paternity leave and pay.

How long do people have to work for an employer to qualify for adoption leave?

Employees have the right to take adoption leave from the first day of their employment, however, an employee will only qualify for SAP if they have at least 26 weeks’ continuous employment with their employer at the end of the week in which they are notified of being matched with a child for adoption, and their average earnings are not less than the lower earnings limit set by the government each tax year, currently £123 per week.

How long do new parents have to take off work when their child/ren are placed?

All employees are entitled to take up to 52 weeks adoption leave, regardless of their length of service or hours of work. This is made up of 26 weeks Ordinary Adoption Leave (OAL) and 26 weeks Additional Adoption Leave (AAL). Only one period of leave is available irrespective of whether more than one child is placed for adoption as part of the same arrangement.

You can view the full Q&A here.

And be sure visit our Youtube channel @pactcharity where you can see Dean’s episode of PACT’s Talking Adoption show, along with many other episodes covering an array of adoption topics.