Adoption leave and pay

Overseas adoptions: notification and confirmation of adoption leave


Employees adopting a child from overseas must give employers notice in three stages that they intend to take Statutory Adoption Leave.

Employees must give you the information required in writing if you request it.

If they are also entitled to Statutory Adoption Pay, they must give you the evidence required at the same time - see adoption pay.

First notification stage for overseas adoptions

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 for overseas adoptions

In all cases, the employee must give you at least 28 days' notice of the actual date they want their Statutory Adoption Leave (and Statutory Adoption Pay if they qualify) to start. They can give this notice at the first notification stage if they know the date. Statutory Adoption Leave 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 for adoption)

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 Statutory Adoption Pay, 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 Statutory Adoption Leave

You must respond to the employee's notification of the date they wish their Statutory Adoption Leave to start (the second notification stage) within 28 days, confirming the date their Statutory Adoption Leave will end. This will inform the employee of when he or she has to return to work. Download our model adoption leave acknowledgement letter (DOC, 136K).

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