Paternity pay and leave

Adoption and surrogacy


You must have been continuously employed by your employer for at least 26 weeks by the ‘matching week’. For adoption this is either:

  • the end of the week you’re matched with the child (UK adoptions)
  • the date the child enters the UK or when you want your pay to start (overseas adoptions)

You must also meet the other eligibility conditions for paternity leave or pay.

Start and end dates - Paternity Leave

Your period of Paternity Leave can start:

  • 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 only)
  • the day the child’s born or the day after if you’re working that day (surrogate parents)

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

You must give your employer 28 days’ notice if you want to change your start date.

How to claim - Paternity Leave or Pay

You must use form SC4 (or your employer’s own version) for:

  • leave - within 7 days of your co-adopter or partner being matched with a child
  • pay - 28 days before you want your pay to start

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

Proof of adoption

You must give your employer proof of adoption to qualify for Paternity Pay. Proof is not needed for Paternity Leave unless your employer asks for it.

Proof can be a letter from your adoption agency or the matching certificate.

You’ll need to provide this information within 28 days.

Surrogacy arrangements

To be eligible for Paternity Pay and Leave if you use a surrogate to have a baby, you must:

  • be in a couple
  • be responsible for the child (with your partner)
  • have worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the ‘qualifying week’ (the 15th week before the baby is due)

At least 15 weeks before the due date, tell your employer when the baby is due and when you want to start your leave - they may ask for this in writing.

Your employer may ask for a written statement to confirm you intend to apply for a parental order in the 6 months after the child’s birth. You must sign this in the presence of a legal professional.

You cannot get Paternity Leave if you take Shared Parental Leave.