Adoption leave is the right of employees who are adopting a child to take a period of leave after the adoption in order to care for and get to know the adopted child.
An employee is eligible for adoption leave once they have been continuously employed by their employer for at least 26 weeks, into and including the week in which they are matched with a child for adoption by an adoption agency. Where they are adopting a child from overseas, they must have 26 weeks continuous service into the week in which they receive official notification of their eligibility to do so, or by the time their leave is to begin, whichever is later.
If you adopt a child, you may be entitled to take 52 weeks of adoption leave. Adoption leave consists of up to 26 weeks of “Ordinary Adoption Leave”, and up to a further 26 weeks of “Additional Adoption Leave”. Adoption leave is available to parents adopting a child both from within the UK and from overseas, although there are different notification procedures for each situation.
You may also be entitled to receive pay for 39 weeks of your leave in the form of Statutory Adoption Pay.
Adoption leave largely mirrors maternity leave in terms of the amount of leave available and the rights of the employee whilst on leave. It is available to employees adopting a child on their own or to one member of a couple who are adopting a child together. In the case of the latter, only one member of the couple may take Statutory Adoption Leave, though the couple can chose who is to take it. The other member of the couple may be eligible for Statutory Paternity Leave (regardless of gender).