Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave: employer guide

Adoption

Eligible employees are entitled to paternity leave and pay if they’re adopting a child.

Calculate an employee’s paternity leave and pay using the maternity and paternity calculator. For overseas adoptions you’ll need to use your payroll software (if it has this feature) or work it out manually.

Eligibility

An employee adopting a child must:

  • have been continuously employed by you for at least 26 weeks up to any day in the week they were matched with a child (UK adoptions)
  • have been continuously employed by you for at least 26 weeks by either the date the child arrives in the UK or when they want their pay to start (overseas adoptions)
  • confirm that their partner is getting Statutory Adoption Pay in writing or by giving you a copy of their partner’s form SC6
  • meet the other eligibility conditions for paternity leave or pay

Notice period

An employee adopting a child must send you form SC4 for:

  • leave - no later than 7 days of their co-adopter or partner being matched with a child
  • pay - 28 days before they want their pay to start

For overseas adoptions the form and notice period is different. The process is explained on form SC5.

Leave start date

An employee taking paternity leave because they’re adopting can start their leave:

  • on the date of placement
  • an agreed number of days after the date of placement
  • on the date the child arrives in the UK or an agreed number of days after this (overseas adoptions)

For overseas adoptions leave must be taken within 56 days of the date of placement or the child’s arrival in the UK.

Proof of adoption

Employees must give you proof of adoption to qualify for paternity pay. Proof is not needed for paternity leave unless you request it. Proof can be a letter from their adoption agency or their matching certificate.

You must keep records of the proof.