Employees adopting a child from overseas must give you notice in three stages that they intend to take statutory adoption leave (SAL).
Employees must give you the information required in writing if you request it.
If they are also entitled to statutory adoption pay (SAP), they must give you the evidence required at the same time - see adoption pay.
First notification stage
The employee must inform you of the date:
- on which they received official notification
- the child is expected to enter Northern Ireland
For an explanation of official notification, see qualifying for adoption leave.
They must give you this information within 28 days of receiving official notification. At this point, the employee should know roughly when the child will enter Northern Ireland.
Second notification stage
In all cases, the employee must give you at least 28 days' notice of the actual date they want their SAL (and SAP if they qualify) to start. They can give this notice at the first notification stage if they know the date. SAL cannot start before the child enters Northern Ireland.
Employees can change their mind about the date on which they want their leave to start providing they tell you at least 28 days in advance of the new date, or as soon as is reasonably practicable.
Third notification stage (after the child has entered Northern Ireland)
Employees must tell you the date the child entered Northern Ireland. They must tell you this within 28 days of the child's date of entry. If the adopter is also claiming SAP, they will need to give evidence of the date of entry.
Employees must tell you as soon as is reasonably practicable if they find out that the child will not be entering Northern Ireland.
Confirmation of SAL
You must respond to the employee's notification of the date they wish their SAL to start (the second notification stage) within 28 days, confirming the date their SAL will end. Download our model adoption leave acknowledgement letter (DOC, 136K).