These days it’s common knowledge that there is a structure to support mothers with Maternity Pay and Leave, however employees adopting a child are also entitled to Adoption Pay and Leave.

Let’s take a look at how Adoption Pay and Leave works…

Employees either adopting a child or having a child via surrogacy may be entitled to Adoption Pay and Leave.
In line with Statutory Maternity Pay and Leave, Statutory Adoption Leave is 52 weeks. It’s made up of:
• 26 weeks of Ordinary Adoption Leave
• 26 weeks of Additional Adoption Leave

Only 1 person in a couple can take Adoption Leave. The other partner could get Paternity leave instead.

If you get Adoption Leave, you can also get paid time off work to attend 5 adoption appointments after you’ve been matched with a child.
Statutory Adoption Pay is paid for up to 39 weeks. The weekly amount is:
• 90% of your average weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks
• £140.98 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks

It’s paid in the same way as your wages (for example monthly or weekly). Tax and National Insurance will be deducted.

To qualify for Adoption Leave, you must:

• be an employee
• give the correct notice
• give proof of the adoption or surrogacy – if your employer asks you for it

Notice – an employee must advise their employer of how much leave they wish to take, the ‘date of placement’ and the date the leave will start within 7 days of being matched with a child.

Proof of Adoption – this must show your name and address and that of the agency, the match date – for example the matching certificate, the date of placement – for example a letter from the agency, the relevant UK authority’s ‘official notification’ confirming you’re allowed to adopt (overseas adoptions only), and the date the child arrived in the UK – for example plane ticket (overseas adoptions only). This is only required to prove eligibility for adoption pay. It is not required for adoption leave.


To qualify for Adoption Pay, you must:

• have worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks by the week you were matched with a child
• earn on average at least £113 a week (before tax)
• give the correct notice
• give proof of the adoption or surrogacy

The rules are slightly different if you’re adopting from overseas or having a child through a surrogacy arrangement.
If you are adopting a child from overseas, the conditions are the same, but with the following amendments

The conditions are the same except for both leave and pay you must:
• have worked continuously for your employer for at least 26 weeks by the time you get your ‘official notification’
• sign form SC6 if you’re adopting a child with your partner

The official notification is permission from a UK authority that you can adopt from abroad. Form SC6 confirms you’re not taking paternity leave or pay.

Let’s take a look at the conditions around surrogacy. To qualify for Statutory Adoption Pay you must:
• have worked continuously for your employer for at least 26 weeks by the 15th week before the baby’s due
• intend to apply for a parental order
• expect the order to be granted (for example because you don’t have any convictions involving children, and the birth mother or father agree to the arrangement)

All the other conditions for qualifying for pay and leave are the same as for adoptive parents.

If you’re genetically related to the child (i.e. the egg or sperm donor), you can choose to get paternity leave and pay instead. You can’t get both.
If you’re fostering for adoption, you’ll receive Adoption Pay and Leave from when the child comes to live with you.

The following conditions that means your employee won’t qualify for Statutory Adoption Pay and Leave:
• if they arrange a private adoption
• if they become a special guardian or kinship carer
• If they adopt a stepchild
• If they adopt a family member or stepchild

You must give your employee a form SAP1 explaining why they can’t get Statutory Adoption Pay. They may get support from your local council instead, if you’re adopting a child.

Further information can be found about Adoption Pay and Leave on the website, which also contains a planner which can help your employee calculate their dates. This can be found at the link below:

ACAS also have helpful information at the link below:

If you would like to discuss adoption pay, maternity pay or any other area of payroll you can call the office on 01384 92 90 20.

    Name (required)


    Your Message (required)

    Company Name

    Email (required)

    Phone Number