When an employee takes time off to adopt a child or have a child through a surrogacy arrangement they might be eligible for Statutory Adoption Pay and Leave.

This guide is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

Statutory Adoption Leave

Employees can take up to 52 weeks’ Statutory Adoption Leave. The first 26 weeks is known as ‘Ordinary Adoption Leave’, the last 26 weeks as ‘Additional Adoption Leave’.

Leave can start:

  • on the date the child starts living with the employee or up to 14 days before the expected placement date (UK adoptions)
  • when an employee has been matched with a child to be placed with them by a UK adoption agency
  • when the child arrives in the UK or within 28 days of this date (overseas adoptions)
  • the day the child’s born or the day after (parents in surrogacy arrangements)

Statutory Adoption Pay

Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) for employees is:

  • 90% of their gross average weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks
  • £156.66 a week or 90% of their gross average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks

Tax and National Insurance need to be deducted.

Calculate an employee’s adoption leave and pay using the maternity and paternity calculator.

Some employment types like agency workers, directors and educational workers have different rules for entitlement.

Extra leave or pay

You can offer more than the statutory amounts if you have a company scheme for adoption leave and pay. You must make sure your scheme’s policies are clear and available to staff.

Employment rights

An employee’s employment rights (like the right to pay, holidays and returning to a job) are protected during adoption leave. You still have to pay Statutory Adoption Pay even if you stop trading.