Adoption Leave Policy

(A pdf version of this policy is available for download here)


 This policy applies to all St Stephen in Brannel Parish Council employees seeking to adopt a child or fostering a child permanently and becoming the legal parent (“fostering to adopt”).

If you are having a child through surrogacy, you might be entitled to adoption leave, pay and other rights but you must apply to become the legal parent within 6 months of the child’s birth.

You must apply for:
a parental order – if one intended parent is genetically related to the child
an adoption order – if the intended parents are not genetically related to the child

If you apply for a parental order, the rules for surrogacy are different –

If you apply for an adoption order, you’ll be eligible for adoption leave and pay.

Qualifying for Statutory Adoption Leave

 An employee has the legal right to Statutory Adoption Leave (SAL) and Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) provided they meet certain criteria. In order to qualify for adoption leave the person must meet the following conditions:

  • Be an employee;
  • Give the correct notice; and
  • Give proof of the adoption or surrogacy

You must also have been matched with a child through an adoption agency. You’re not entitled to take adoption leave for a private adoption, for example, if you’re adopting or fostering to adopt a relative.

Note – only one person in a couple is entitled to adoption leave and adoption pay.  The other partner may be entitled to take paternity leave and pay. Alternatively, both of you might also be able to use Shared Parental Leave and Pay to take time off.

Such employees have a right to:

  • 52 weeks’ statutory adoption leave (SAL); and
  • 39 week’s statutory adoption pay (SAP).

Qualifying for Statutory Adoption Pay

To get Statutory Adoption Pay the employee must:

  • Have been continuously employed by the Council for at least 26 weeks by the week they were matched with a child;
  • Earn on average at least £123 a week before tax for at least 8 weeks by the week they were matched with a child;
  • Give the correct notice; and
  • Give proof of the adoption, fostering to adopt or surrogacy..

Adoption Leave

4.1 Notification Requirements.
Within 7 days of being matched with a child, the employee must tell Council in writing:

  • The date they wish the leave to start; and
  • The date the child is expected to be placed for adoption OR
  • The expected week of childbirth (surrogacy)

Council will require proof of the adoption and this should show –

  • The name and address of the adoption agency;
  • The employee’s name and address;
  • The date the child is expected to be placed for adoption, or where the child has already been placed, the date of placement;
  • The date the employee was informed that the child would be placed with the employee;
  • If an overseas adoption, the relevant UK authority official notification confirming you are allowed to adopt from overseas; and
  • If an overseas adoption, the date the child arrived in the UK.

If you’re fostering to adopt, you must give evidence of a placement (for example, a letter from the adoption agency).

In the event of surrogacy, the Council will require proof of the application for a parental order.

4.2 Planning your adoption leave
For UK adoptions, and placements where you foster a child permanently to become their legal parent (‘fostering to adopt’), you can start adoption leave either:

  • when you’ve been matched with a child
  • up to 14 days before the expected placement date

For overseas adoptions, you can start adoption leave either:

  • when the child arrives in the UK
  • within 28 days of the child arriving in the UK

For UK and overseas surrogacy arrangements, you can start adoption leave from the birth or the day after the birth.

4.3 Rights during Adoption Leave.

An employee is entitled to the benefit of all the terms and conditions of employment that would have applied if he or she was not on Adoption Leave including annual leave.

4.4 Returning to Work

You do not need to tell the Council when you’ll be returning to work but letting us know the date you want to return will help us plan for your return.

If you’re not sure when you want to return and do not give a return date, the Council will assume you’ll return to work after 52 weeks.

If you want to return to work early, you must give the Council 8 weeks’ notice. It might be possible to agree a return date with less than 8 weeks’ notice but only with prior agreement.

If you do not want to return to work after your adoption leave, you must give your notice as per your employment contract.

If you’ve taken adoption leave of up to 26 weeks, you have the right to return to the same job.

Working during adoption leave

You can choose to work for up to 10 days during your adoption leave without it affecting your leave or pay. These are called keeping in touch (KIT) days.

You can use a KIT day to keep up to date with your workplace and to help you return to work.

It’s up to you:

  • if you want to work KIT days
  • how many KIT days you want
  • what type of work you’ll do on the days
  • how much you’ll get paid for the work

Half or part days worked still count as a full KIT Day.

If you work more than 10 KIT days, your adoption leave and pay automatically ends by law.

Statutory Adoption Pay

 Statutory Adoption Pay is paid for up to 39 weeks. The current weekly amount is

  • 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks
  • £172.48 or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings (whichever is the lower) for the next 33 weeks.

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

Statutory Adoption Pay starts when the employee takes adoption leave.


[1]Adopted by Full Council at the meeting held on Wednesday 6th December 2023 under minute number FPC265/23. Due for review in November 2026.