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HMRC internal manual

Statutory Payments Manual

Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP): general information - Statutory Adoption Leave (SAL)

SAL provides employees who satisfy the qualifying conditions with entitlement to leave and employment protection when they adopt a child.

The employee can choose when they want to take their SAL within statutory limits. If the employee is also entitled to SAP the two periods are generally aligned.

SAL can start on any day of the week, depending on when the child is placed with the adopter or enters the UK to live with the adoptive parent. The rules on when SAL can start and how long it can last are exactly the same as the rules for the Adoption Pay Period (APP).

Ordinary Adoption Leave

Employees who have completed 26 weeks’ continuous employment into the matching week or official notification week (for those adopting a child from overseas) when they wish the APP to begin, are entitled to 26 weeks’ ordinary adoption leave. The contract of employment continues during this period.

During the ordinary adoption leave period the employee must continue to receive all their contractual benefits even if they do not receive their normal wages or salary.

If the employee satisfies the terms and conditions set out in legislation, they will be entitled to SAP.

Adopters who cannot get SAP are still entitled to ordinary adoption leave and may be entitled to additional adoption leave. Some may also get contractual pay from their employer.

Additional Adoption Leave

All adopters who qualify for ordinary adoption leave are also entitled to a further 26 weeks’ additional adoption leave. Additional adoption leave begins at the end of ordinary adoption leave.

Although the contract of employment continues during the additional adoption leave, only certain terms of the employment contract continue automatically during this period. Any other terms and conditions of the contract are a matter for agreement between the employer and the employee.

Guidance is available on GOV.UK. Free confidential advice on adoption leave and employment rights is available from ACAS on 0300 123 1100.

Position from 5 April 2015

On 5 April 2015 SAL became a day one right for employees who notify their employer that they have been matched with a child.

Single and joint adopters who are matched with a child are entitled to paid time off to attend up to 5 adoption appointments. (If joint adopters, only one of the adopters is eligible)

The partner in a joint adoption who does not take paid time off for up to 5 adoption appointments is entitled to take unpaid time off to attend up to 2 adoption appointments.

Foster to adopt cases

An employee approved as a foster parent and a prospective adopter who has been notified that a child will be placed with them under section 22 of the Children Act, is entitled to take 52 weeks adoption leave beginning no earlier than two weeks before the child is expected to be placed and no later than the date the child is placed.