Adoption leave and pay

Adoption leave: annual leave and occupational pensions


During Statutory Adoption Leave, an employee continues to accrue annual leave. They may also continue to benefit from occupational pension scheme contributions.

Accrual of annual leave

An employee continues to accrue both their full statutory paid annual leave entitlement of 5.6 weeks and any additional contractual entitlement throughout both Ordinary Adoption Leave and Additional Adoption Leave.

An employee may not take annual leave during Statutory Adoption Leave. You should instead allow the employee to take any untaken annual leave before and/or after their Statutory Adoption Leave.

Note that you cannot pay an employee in lieu of any untaken statutory annual leave unless the contract is terminated.

Also, note that an employee's Statutory Adoption Leave begins automatically if the child is unexpectedly placed with them for adoption during a period of annual leave - see when adoption leave can begin.

For more information on annual leave entitlements, see know how much holiday to give your staff.

Contributions to an occupational pension scheme

During Ordinary Adoption Leave (whether or not the employee is receiving statutory and/or enhanced adoption pay) and any period of paid Additional Adoption Leave, you should calculate the employer's contribution to an occupational pension scheme contributions as if the employee is working normally and receiving the normal remuneration for doing so.

During any period that your employee is on Additional Adoption Leave but not receiving any adoption pay - eg during the last 13 weeks of Additional Adoption Leave - you do not have to make any employer contributions to an occupational pension scheme unless the contract of employment provides otherwise.

If the occupational pension scheme rules require employee contributions to continue during Statutory Adoption Leave, their contributions should be based on the amount of statutory and/or enhanced adoption pay they are receiving.

Employee contributions will therefore stop during any period of unpaid adoption leave - eg during the last 13 weeks of Additional Adoption Leave - but the occupational pension scheme rules may allow them to still make voluntary contributions.

See the Invest Northern Ireland Employers' Handbook guidance on adoption leave and pay (PDF, 48K).