To qualify for statutory adoption leave (SAL), an employee should notify you no more than seven days after they are notified of having been matched with a child:
- that they intend to take SAL
- when they intend to start it
- the date the child is expected to be placed with them for adoption
They can tell you earlier than this if they choose.
If it is not reasonably practicable for them to meet this deadline, they should notify you as soon as possible.
If the employee has not given you the correct notice, you can delay the start of their statutory adoption leave (and pay) until they give the correct notice. However, you cannot postpone the start of leave beyond the date of placement.
You may request this notification in writing.
Many employees will find it convenient to give notice of the date for the start of statutory adoption pay (SAP) at the same time. The date for the start of SAP can be the same as the start date for SAL. See adoption pay.
An employee can change the start date of their leave - see when adoption leave can begin.
Evidence of adoption
Employees do not have to prove that they are eligible for SAL unless you ask them to. However, they do need to provide evidence to prove eligibility for SAP - see adoption pay.
If you choose to ask an employee to prove their eligibility for SAL, they must give you the documentation they were given by the adoption agency.
Encouraging early notification
If the employee notifies you as early as possible of their intention to take SAL, you can start making arrangements for covering the period while they are away.
Giving the employee confirmation of the end date of their SAL
After receiving their notification, you must in turn notify the employee of the date on which their SAL will end. This will normally be 52 weeks from the intended start of their SAL. Download our model adoption leave acknowledgement letter (DOC, 136K).
You must give the employee this information within 28 days of their notification, unless the employee has since changed the date their leave will start. In that case, you must notify them of the end date within 28 days of the start of their leave.
If you fail to give the employee proper notification and the employee subsequently doesn't return to work on time, you cannot discipline them.
In addition, if they want to change their return dates, they may not be obliged to comply with the notice requirements.
Note that an employee may choose to take less than 52 weeks' SAL by notifying you of this:
- at the same time as they notify you that they intend to take leave - in which case you would confirm this date in your acknowledgment letter
- before or during the leave itself - as long as they give the correct notice - see employee notification of change of planned return date from adoption leave