Adoption Leave Policy & Procedure
Last Updated 21 Mar 2017 in Family Friendly
If you plan to adopt, this policy provides full information about what you’re entitled to.
Key points covered:
The amount of statutory adoption leave you’re entitled to and guidelines for applying
Differences when fostering and adopting from overseas
How much adoption pay you’re entitled to
How it affects your benefits
About this policy
This policy sets out the arrangements for adoption leave and pay for colleagues who are adopting a child through a UK adoption agency, fostering a child with a view to possible adoption or having a child through a surrogate mother.
This policy only applies to employees. It does not apply to agency workers or self-employed contractors.
This policy does not form part of any colleague’s contract of employment and we may amend it at any time.
Who is responsible for this policy?
All colleagues who are eligible for adoption leave in accordance with this policy are required to adhere to the timescales for notification.
Colleagues are encouraged to speak with their line manager in good time regarding the proposed adoption so that the policy can be applied effectively.
All managers must treat colleagues eligible for adoption leave fairly and consistently in accordance with this policy. If managers require support or assistance they should contact the relevant HR advisor in PSG.
Time off before adoption leave
The Society is keen to support families involved in the adoption process. As such, colleagues who are the main adopter can take up to five days paid time off work to go to five adoption appointments. If the colleague is the co-adopter they can take up to two days unpaid time off work to go to two adoption appointments. Although the time off for a co-adopter is unpaid, the Society will do its best to limit the effect such as agreeing for the colleague to make up the time where it’s possible.
Adoption appointments are those that have been made by an adoption agency or Local Authority relating to a child being placed for adoption, or for a Fostering for Adoption placement. Line Managers should be informed as soon as possible where such appointments are scheduled to take place during work time so that necessary cover can be arranged. Colleagues are required to provide reasonable documentary evidence confirming the appointment. The main adopter will only be paid for the time spent at the appointment, which falls within their normal/rota’d work time.
Adoption leave entitlement
A colleague qualifies for 52 weeks' Statutory Adoption Leave (SAL) when they adopt a child provided that they:
have been matched with a child to be placed with them by a UK adoption agency,
have notified the agency that they agree that the child should be placed with them, and have agreed the date of placement,
have been continuously employed by the Society for at least 26 weeks ending with the week in which they are notified that they have been matched with the child (the "matching week"). The matching week starts on a Sunday and ends on a Saturday,
have communicated to the Society when they want to take their SAL, and communicated it no more than seven days after they are notified that they have been matched with a child,
provide a copy of the matching certificate from the agency or local authority once it has been received.
The SAL period is made up of 26 weeks' ordinary adoption leave followed immediately by 26 weeks' additional adoption leave.
To qualify for adoption leave when a child is adopted from overseas, the colleague must:
be the child’s adopter. Where the child is to be adopted by two people jointly, leave can only be taken by the colleague if they have chosen to take adoption leave in respect of the child;
have received official notification confirming that the relevant UK Authority has, or is prepared to, issue a certificate confirming the colleague is eligible to adopt and has been assessed and approved as being a suitable adoptive parent; and
have worked for the Society continuously for at least 26 weeks by the time adoption leave is due to begin.
Foster parents and surrogacy
A foster parent can take SAL, but only if:
the child that the colleague fostered is then matched with them for adoption by a UK adoption agency. Adoption via a court order does not count for the purposes of SAL, and
the child is then actually placed with them for adoption.
In a surrogacy case, you are entitled to SAL, but only if:
a surrogate mother gives birth to a child, who is biologically the child of either you, or your spouse or partner (or both of you), and
you expect to be given parental responsibility under a parental order from the court. The child must live with you and you must apply for the parental order within six months of birth.
In both cases, the usual notification and service criteria still apply. The adoption leave only relates to the actual placement for adoption. Any period of foster caring does not count.
Notification of adoption leave
Colleagues must provide written notification using the Adoption Leave Notification Form (AL/1) of their intention to take the leave. The notification form must specify the date the child is expected to be placed with the colleague, the date the colleague intends to start their leave and be supported by a copy of the 'matching certificate' from the Adoption Agency.
In a surrogacy case, colleagues must tell us in writing of their intention to take adoption leave and give the expected week of childbirth (EWC). Colleagues must give this information by the end of the 15th week before the EWC, or if that is not reasonably practicable, as soon as they can. When the child is born the colleague must tell us the date of birth.
Colleagues may bring forward their adoption leave provided that they notify their manager in writing at least 28 days before the new start date or, if that is not possible, as soon as reasonably practicable. Colleagues may also postpone the adoption leave, provided that they notify their manager in writing at least 28 days before the original proposed start date or, if that is not possible, as soon as reasonably practicable.
The Payroll department will write to affected colleagues as soon as possible but in any case, within 28 days confirming the latest date on which the colleague must return to work after adoption leave.
Leave can start on any day of the week from the date of the child's placement (whether this is earlier or later than expected), or from a fixed date which can be up to 14 days before the expected date of placement.
Only one period of leave will be available irrespective of whether more than one child is placed for adoption as part of the same arrangement. If the child's placement ends during the adoption leave period, the adopter will be able to continue adoption leave for up to eight weeks after the end of the placement.
In a surrogacy case, adoption leave will start on the day the child is born, unless the colleague is at work, in which case it will start on the following day. Colleagues cannot change the start date.
Only one parent can take adoption leave. If the colleague’s spouse or partner takes adoption leave with their employer the colleague may be entitled to paternity leave. In some cases the colleague may also qualify for shared parental leave.
Provided that the colleague’s average weekly salary is not less than the lower earnings limit for national insurance contributions, colleagues will be entitled to receive Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) for up to 39 weeks. The first six weeks’ SAP are paid at 90% of the colleague’s average earnings and the remaining 33 weeks are at a rate set by the government each year. SAP is treated as earnings and is therefore subject to PAYE and national insurance deductions.
If the average weekly earnings are below the average weekly earnings limit for National Insurance Contributions, such colleagues will not qualify for Statutory Adoption Pay. Such colleagues should contact their Adoption Agency about other financial support available.
Benefits during leave
During the adoption leave period (paid and unpaid) the contract of employment continues in force. All the terms and conditions of the contract continue with the exception of salary. Continuity of service is maintained, and any standard incremental progression which may be granted during the adoption leave period (paid or unpaid) will be honoured from the date when it is applied to other colleagues.
Colleagues will continue to accrue annual leave during their adoption leave and should, therefore, agree with their manager to take leave in accordance with normal procedures.
There is, however, a statutory restriction on carrying over holiday until the following holiday year so colleagues may need to arrange with their line manager to ensure that they take their full statutory holiday entitlement prior to commencing adoption leave, or between the expiration of their adoption leave and the end of holiday year. It may be possible to carry over any holiday entitlement above their statutory entitlement (e.g. that accrued due to length of service) into the following holiday year and this should be agreed with the line manager prior to the commencement of the adoption leave. Please note it is not possible to pay in lieu of statutory holiday entitlement unless a colleague leaves the employment of the Society.
For details of how pension is treated during adoption leave please contact the Pensions office on 01922 659263.
Contact during Adoption Leave
We may make reasonable contact with a colleague from time to time during their adoption leave although we will keep this to a minimum. This may include contacting the colleague to discuss arrangements for their return to work.
Keeping in Touch (KIT) Days
A colleague may, with the agreement of his or her line manager, carry out up to 10 days' work during their adoption leave period without bringing the adoption leave to an end. In accordance with legislation, any work carried out on for part of a day shall constitute a full day's work for the purposes of pay and KIT day entitlement.
Work means any work done under the contract of employment and may include training, attending meetings and committees or any activity undertaken for the purposes of keeping in touch with the workplace.
It should be noted however, that this provision does not confer any right on the Society to require any work to be carried out during the statutory adoption leave period, nor any right on the colleagues to request work during this period. Also, there is no obligation on either the society or the colleague to make use of these days.
Notification of return to work
If a colleague intends to return to work at the end of their full adoption leave period entitlement, he or she is not required to give notice of their return. However, if a colleague wants to extend their adoption leave (subject to the maximum of 52 weeks), return earlier than a date previously specified or is planning not to return, he or she is required to give 8 weeks’ notice of this intention. If he or she gives less than 8 weeks' notice, their adoption leave may be extended for 8 weeks' after the date of giving notice of return, to allow the society to make any necessary arrangements.
A colleague may be able to return from adoption leave by graduated steps, and/or part-time, provided that his/her line manager can make arrangements to cover his or/her duties at no extra cost to the Society. If a colleague wishes to discuss any change in working arrangements on his or her return to work, he or she should contact their line manager at the earliest opportunity and no later than eight weeks before he or she returns to work. If a colleague wants to change their hours or other working arrangements on return from adoption leave they should make a request under our Flexible Working Policy. It is helpful if such requests are made as early as possible.
A colleague is normally entitled to return to work in the position they held before starting adoption leave, on the same terms of employment. However, if the colleague has taken additional adoption leave (or have combined adoption leave with more than four weeks of parental leave) and it is not reasonably practicable for the Society to allow the colleague to return to the same position, we may give the colleague another suitable and appropriate job on terms and conditions that are not less favourable.
Date of last review