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Adoption Leave and Pay: How To Get Paid Time Off To Bond With Your Child

By IntFormalities
Updated on August 13, 2023
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Delivering a baby into this world is the most common way to become a parent. But starting a family this way, or adding a member to the existing household is not limited to you or your partner giving birth to a child. Many people choose to adopt children or have a baby through surrogacy. If this is applicable, you are entitled to adoption pay and leave. This will enable you to take a break from work to bond with your child while you receive payments from your employer.

Adoption Leave and Pay: How To Get Paid Time Off To Bond With Your Child
Whether you are adopting a baby or having a baby through a surrogacy program you are entitled to leave along with financial assistance from your employer

Adoption and Surrogacy: Differences and Entitlement

Although both are steps people who cannot or do not want to have children biologically decide to take, there are some differences between them. Adopting a child means legally taking on the role of a parent of a child who is not biologically yours.

On the other hand, surrogacy takes place when someone else has a baby on your behalf. Often one person from the relationship is the sperm or egg donor. The birth could take place privately or through the NHS.

Whether you are adopting a baby or having a baby through a surrogacy program, you are entitled to leave, along with financial assistance from your employer. You’ll continue to enjoy employment rights while on adoptive leave, and still qualify for pay raises and accrue holidays.

What Is Adoption Leave?

Adoption Leave is paid time off work. It can last for a maximum of 52 weeks and it’s only available for 1 person in the relationship. The other person could take paternity leave. If you qualify for adoption leave, it is possible to receive paid leave to attend five adoption meetings after the “matching.”

“Matching” refers to the moment when the adoption agency has found a suitable child for you to adopt.

Eligibility for Adoption Leave

You must meet the following criteria to be eligible for adoption leave:

  • You are employed by the company and not a self-employed
  • The correct notice must be given (which is within seven days of becoming “matched” with the child)
  • You can provide proof of surrogacy or adoption if asked by the employer
  • You have completed form SC6 (for those adopting from overseas)

How To Apply

To apply for adoption leave within seven days of the “match” taking place, you must inform the employer:

  • The amount of leave required
  • The start date of departure
  • The date you’ll be receiving the child

Your employer will confirm the start/end days generally within 28 days. If you are involved in a surrogate birth, inform the employer when the expected due date and when you wish to start the adoption leave. It has to be done at least fifteen weeks before the expected birth.

With Surrogacy programs, the employer will ask for a statement to confirm you are in the process of applying for a parental order.

Start Dates for Adoption Leave

For UK adoptions, you can begin adoption leave before the child starts to live with you. It is usually 14 days before the child moves in, and you take parental responsibility. It normally is 28 days before the child comes to the UK for overseas adoption. With surrogate births, adoption leave starts on or the following date the child is born.

What Is Adoption Pay?

Adoption allowance is the money you receive from your employer while starting to take care of your adopted or surrogate child. You are entitled to statutory Adoption Pay for a maximum of 39 weeks. The payments you’ll receive are as follows:

  • For the 1st six weeks, you’ll receive 90% of your weekly salary
  • For the remaining 33 weeks, you’ll receive £156.66 or 90% of your weekly wage (whatever figure is lower)

These payments are made in the same way as wages. It could be, for example, through the bank fortnightly. The payments start on the date you begin adoption leave. As with Maternity Pay, there is no exemption from tax and national insurance.

Eligibility for Adoption Pay

To receive Statutory Adoption Pay, the following conditions must be met:

  • A minimum income of £123 per week
  • Continuous employment for 26 weeks when the matching took place (see below for surrogate births)
  • The correct notice must be given
  • Proof of surrogacy or adoption
  • Complete form SC6 if you are adopting from overseas

Payment If in a Surrogacy Program

Birth through a surrogacy arrangement works similarly to adoption, except you must be in continuous employment 15 weeks before the baby is due. In addition, you must be:

  • Intending to make an application for a parental order
  • Expecting the order to be given (e.g., you have no serious convictions, and the biological parents agree with the arrangement)

Suppose you are genetically related to the child as a sperm or egg donor. Then you can choose paternity leave and pay instead.

Proof of Adoption

To receive adoption leave, you do not need to show any proof (unless asked by the employer). But to receive the adoption pay, you must show the following evidence:

  • Your name/address, along with the adoption agency details
  • The matching date (e.g., matching certificate)
  • The date you will receive the child from the adoption agency or from overseas
  • Official notification from the UK authority if adopting from overseas

Company Adoption Leave And Pay Schemes

The amount mentioned above is the statutory payment. It means that is the minimum the company can pay you. Some organisations have their own adoption, maternity, and paternity pay schemes. They are larger than the statutory requirements. It could mean you’ll receive greater pay and more time off work than what the company has to provide by law.

Additionally, you can also access government-backed childcare programs once you take responsibility for the child.

Adoption Pay And Leave: Be Sure To Receive Your Entitlement

Adoption leave and pay work similarly to maternity leave and pay. It is effectively maternity leave for adoption. If you are adopting a child or having birth through surrogacy, be sure to work with your employer to take advantage of the leave and payments available.

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