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Who is eligible for adoption leave?

All staff identified as the primary adopter are entitled to take adoption leave of up to 52 weeks.

The level of pay during leave is dependent upon the member of staff’s NHS service (as outlined below) and whether they intend to return to work.

Staff who work on a bank only contract are not eligible for occupational adoption pay (option C). They are eligible for options A, B or D.

Option A

Option A is for staff with less than 26 weeks with the Trust or NHS.

Adoption leave Adoption pay
26 weeks’ ordinary adoption leave and 26 weeks’ additional adoption leave Leave is unpaid but staff may be able to claim benefits from their local Jobcentre Plus

Option B

Option B is for staff with more than 26 weeks with the Trust but less than 12 months with the NHS at the following points of the adoption process:

  • Date of the week the staff member is matched with a child
  • Date the official notification for overseas adoption is received
  • 15 weeks before the surrogate baby’s due date (staff must have earned enough to pay NI contributions)
Adoption leave Adoption pay
39 weeks’ paid leave and up to 13 weeks’ unpaid leave Six weeks at high rate SAP followed by 33 weeks at the low rate SAP

Option C

Option C is for staff with 12 months’ service with the Trust or another NHS body by either of the following dates:

  • The beginning of the week when the staff member was notified of being matched with a child for adoption
  • 15 weeks before the surrogate baby’s due date (member of staff must be eligible for and intends to apply for a parental order)
Adoption leave Adoption pay
39 weeks’ paid leave (26 weeks occupational adoption pay and 13 weeks statutory) and up to 13 weeks’ unpaid leave Eight weeks at full pay minus any SAP received, followed by 18 weeks half pay plus low rate SAP (provided this does not exceed full pay) and 13 weeks at low rate SAP

Option D

Option D is the same as option C but is for staff who will not be returning to work after adoption leave.

Adoption leave Adoption pay
Not applicable Six weeks at high rate SAP followed by 33 weeks at low rate SAP

Which staff are entitled to statutory adoption leave?

The right to statutory adoption leave is available to staff who have been notified by an approved adoption agency that they (alone or jointly) have been matched with a child for adoption.

Adoption leave is also available to eligible staff who are adopting a child from overseas and who have received official notification from the relevant UK authority that they have been assessed and approved as being suitable adoptive parents.

Adoption leave and pay is also available to staff who have a child placed with them in a foster to adopt situation and to staff who become the legal parents of a child as a result of a parental order where the child is born under a surrogacy arrangement.

The right to adoption leave is available to one member only of a couple. It is up to the adoptive parents to decide which of them takes the adoption leave. The partner of an individual who adopts, or the other member of a couple who are adopting jointly, may be entitled to a period of paid new parent support (paternity) leave.

A couple who adopt a child may also be entitled to shared parental leave of up to 50 weeks, to be shared between them during the first year of the adoption, if they meet the eligibility requirements.

Can the member of staff change their mind on when they want their leave to commence?

Yes, staff can but will need to give at least 28 days’ notice (if this is not possible, as soon as is reasonably practicable beforehand).

What forms will a member of staff need to complete?

Staff need to complete the adoption leave application form, along with a copy of the matching certificate.

A manager has been notified that a member of staff wishes to apply for adoption leave, what does the manager need to do?

The manager needs to ensure they familiarise themselves with the adoption leave procedure.

The adoption leave checklist form is also available to assist managers in following the correct steps to process the adoption leave application appropriately and in a timely fashion.

If the manager has a query, please contact the HR First Contact team for advice.

What happens if a member of staff does not have 12 months continuous service, do they get any pay?

Yes, they do. Statutory provisions will apply if the employee has 26 weeks continuous service at the beginning of the eleventh week before being notified of a match.

Statutory adoption pay is paid for 39 weeks and the remaining 13 weeks is unpaid.

A member of staff is going on adoption leave and wants to know whether there will be changes to any of their other terms and conditions, apart from pay?

Members of staff retain all the same terms and conditions of employment during their adoption leave, except for pay.

Continuous service is preserved, the Trust pays their pension contribution and holiday entitlement accrues as normal.

Staff also have the right to return to the same job or a similar job with no less favourable terms and conditions after adoption leave.

A member of staff is adopting a child. What do they have to do to apply for adoption leave/pay?

Staff wanting to apply for adoption leave must complete an adoption leave application form, within seven days of being notified that they have been matched with a child.

The member of staff must state on the form when the placement is expected to start, when the period of adoption leave begins and how much leave they wish to take. Staff can change when the adoption leaves starts, but should aim to give 28 days’ notice, if possible.

Employees must also provide a certificate from the adoption agency to show they are entitled to adoption leave and pay from the Trust. Managers should respond to the request within 28 days, confirming the arrangements and specifying the date when the member of staff is due to return to work.

Is the member of staff entitled to any time off for appointments relating to the adoption process?

A member of staff is entitled to reasonable paid time off to attend official meetings during the adoption process.

Managers can request to see evidence of any appointments. If so, a copy should be taken and retained on the staff member's personal file.

What if both parents are employed by the Trust, will both be entitled to adoption leave?

No, only the parent who is identified as the principle carer will be entitled to the adoption leave. The other parent is entitled to new parent support (paternity) leave.

Can a member of staff undertake paid work during the unpaid part of the adoption leave?

No, a member of staff can not undertake any work during the full duration of the adoption leave.

Does the member of staff continue to receive annual and public holiday entitlements whilst they are on adoption leave?

Yes, the member of staff will continue to accrue annual and public holiday entitlements during the adoption leave.

It is good practice for the manager and member of staff to discuss leave arrangements before the adoption leave commences.

What if the member of staff has submitted an adoption leave application form, but they have not heard anything from their manager. What should they do?

The member of staff should attempt to contact the manager and chase up the progress of their application form.

If the manager still fails to respond, the member of staff should escalate their concerns to the next line of management.

If this is unsuccessful, the member of staff must seek advice from the HR First Contact team.

A member of staff believes they have been paid incorrectly during their adoption leave. Who should they contact?

The member of staff should contact Payroll to discuss any pay queries. Payroll contact details are available on the Trust intranet.

A member of staff wishes to adopt overseas. Will they still be entitled to adoption leave?

Yes. A member of staff will still be entitled to adoption leave and or pay resulting from an overseas adoption.

Staff must ensure they:

  • Tell their manager the date of the official notification (permission from a UK authority for an adoption abroad) and the estimated date that the child will arrive in UK. This must be done within 28 days of receipt of the official notification
  • Tell their manager the actual date the child arrives in UK within 28 days
  • Provide their manager with a minimum of 28 days' notice of when they wish to commence their adoption leave and pay (noting that adoption leave can only start after the child has entered the UK and must start no later than 28 days after the child has entered UK)
  • Provide appropriate documentation and proof of the adoption to their manager, including but not limited to the official notification and evidence that the child has entered UK

What documented proof can a member of staff provide to confirm that they are adopting?

In order to receive pay during adoption, whether this is occupational or statutory, all members of staff will be required to provide proof of adoption.

Proof of adoption must show the:

  • Name and address of the agency and employee
  • Date the child was matched (e.g. matching certificate)
  • Expected or actual date of placement (e.g. agency letter)
  • Relevant UK authority’s official notification confirming the parent is allowed to adopt (overseas adoptions only)
  • Date the child arrived in the UK such as a plane ticket (overseas adoptions only)

For surrogacy arrangements

Staff will be required to provide a written statement (statutory declaration) to confirm they:

  • intend to apply for a parental order in the six months after the baby’s birth
  • expect the order to be granted (e.g. they do not have any convictions involving children and the birth mother or father agree to the arrangement)

What is foster to adopt?

Foster to adopt is for adopters who have been approved by their adoption agency under a concurrent or fostering for adoption arrangement and may choose to start their adoption leave when a fostering placement is made or when the child is matched with them for adoption.

Only one set of adoption leave is payable per placement. Receipt of fostering allowances and payments during the fostering phase of placement will not affect any adoption pay payable under this agreement.

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