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HMRC internal manual

Statutory Payments Manual

Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP): general information - time limits for notification of start of SAP

The employee must give their employer notice that they wish to claim SAP within set time limits, depending on whether the child is adopted in the UK or from abroad.

Notice for pay:

  • does not have to be in writing unless the employer wants it to be
  • should normally be given in person, but may be given on the employee’s behalf
  • can be given by post (the date of notice is the date it is posted), phone, fax or e-mail

The employee must tell the employer:

  • the date the child is expected to be placed with them. This should be shown on the evidence from the adoption agency
  • when the employee wants to start being paid SAP.

Time limits - placed for adoption under UK law

Notification of start of SAP

The employee must give notice at least 28 days before they expect their entitlement to SAP to begin.

Notification of leave

The adopter must notify their employer when they intend to take adoption leave within 7 days of being told that they have been matched with a child for adoption.

Notifying a change of start date

If the date they want to take their adoption leave changes, they must give their employer 28 days’ notice of the new date if that is reasonably practicable.

Late notification

If it is not reasonably practicable to give the employer the statutory notice within the time limits, the employee must do so as soon possible. The employer will need to decide if it was reasonably practicable for the employee to have given them notice on time. This will depend on the particular circumstances.

For example:

There may be very little time between the date the employee is told they have been matched with a child and the date the child is placed with them. If the employee is late giving notice because of this the employer must accept it.

If the employer does not accept the reason for the delay in giving the notice they can refuse to pay SAP.

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Time limits - adoption from abroad

The time limits for giving notification of leave and SAP for adoption from abroad are rather more complicated than for domestic adoption to reflect the greater time it may take to complete the adoption process.

First stage:

The employee must tell their employer the date on which they receive Official Notification (ON) and the date the child is expected to enter the UK:

  • within 28 days of receiving ON if they have already completed 26 weeks continuous employment, or
  • within 28 days of the Sunday of the week when they complete 26 weeks employment if they haven’t already done so when they received the ON.

Second stage

The employee should tell the employer at least 28 days before they want their SAP and adoption leave to start. If the employee has a good reason for giving the employer less notice than this the employer should accept it. The employee can tell the employer when they want their adoption leave and SAP to start at the first stage if they know then.

Employees can change their mind about the date on which they want their SAP and adoption leave to start providing they tell their employer at least 28 days in advance of the new date.

Third stage

The employee must tell the employer the date the child enters the UK within 28 days of the child’s arrival.