Leave and pay entitlements

The right to adoption leave is only available to one member of the adopting or 'parental order' parent couple. It is up to the adoptive / 'parental order' parents to elect which of them takes the adoption leave. The parent elected to take the leave is known as the designated primary parent. The designated primary parent will decide how much of this entitlement they wish to take.

If you are the designated primary parent you are eligible to take up to 52 weeks' adoption leave.

To be able to take adoption leave and receive adoption pay you will need to meet the relevant qualifying criteria. You can check your eligibility and if you meet the qualification criteria by referring to the adoption leave scheme section in the 'Family support leave policy'.

Leave Occupational pay Statutory pay Unpaid
Up to 52 weeks
(you must take compulsory adoption leave of at least two weeks immediately following the placement or birth of the child)
18 weeks
('top up' of SAP, or equivalent, to full pay)
39 weeks Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) or 90% pay (whichever is less) or equivalent  
    13 weeks unpaid

You are required by law to take at least 2 weeks of 'Compulsory adoption leave' immediately following the placement, or in the case of surrogacy, the birth of your child.

If you do not wish to take all of the adoption leave/pay that you are entitled to, your partner may be able to take what is left over. For more information on this please refer to the Shared parental leave scheme section of the 'Family support leave policy'.

Adoption appointments

Time off to attend application interviews

You can take up to two days (14.8 hours) paid time off will be provided in connection with the application for adoption. This may include pre-adoption interviews, adoption training, visits or court appearances.

Time off to attend adoption appointments

You can take time off to attend adoption appointments in the period between being notified of a match with a child and the date that the child joins the family.

  • If you are a single adopter you are entitled to paid time off to attend up to five adoption appointments
  • If you are joint adoptions (i.e. a couple who have been jointly matched to adopt the child) one of the adopters only will be entitled to paid time off to attend up to five adoption appointments. The other adopter may be entitled to unpaid time off work to attend up to two adoption appointments
  • Up to 6.5 hours is allowed for each appointment, although you should take only the time that you need to attend the adoption appointment
  • The appointment must have been arranged by or at the request of the adoption agency
  • If you are joint adopters, the adopter who took paid time off to attend adoption appointments cannot claim paternity leave and pay
  • If you are a 'Parental Order' parent you are entitled to take unpaid leave to enable you to accompany the surrogate to up to two of their antenatal appointments.