Guide

Adoption leave and pay

When adoption leave can begin

When an employee can choose to start their statutory adoption leave (SAL) depends on whether they are adopting a child from within the UK or from overseas, or are an intended parent of a surrogacy arrangement.

UK adoptions

An employee can choose to begin their SAL (and statutory adoption pay (SAP)) on either of the following:

  • the date on which the child is placed with them for adoption
  • a pre-determined date no earlier than 14 days before the expected date of placement and no later than the expected date of placement

If they have chosen to start their leave on the day the child is placed with them and they are at work on that day, the period of SAL and SAP can start on the next day. The leave can start on any day of the week.

If the date of placement changes before the employee begins their SAL, they should:

  • discuss the situation with you as soon as possible
  • give the appropriate notice to change the start date - however, you can accept less notice

If you are unable to agree about the dates of SAL, contact the LRA Helpline on Tel 028 9032 1442.

Overseas adoptions

Employees may choose to start their SAL from either the date the child enters Northern Ireland or a fixed date (as notified to you) no later than 28 days after the date the child enters Northern Ireland.

The leave can start on any day of the week.

SAL cannot be used to cover the period employees spend travelling overseas to arrange the adoption or visit the child. You could, however, allow the employee to take annual leave or unpaid leave for these purposes.

Surrogacy cases

Adoption leave will commence on the day the child is born; but if the employee is at work on that day then leave will commence on the next day.

Changing the start date of SAL

This does not apply to surrogacy cases.

The employee can change their intended SAL start date as long as they notify you of the new start date. They must do this by whichever is the earlier of:

  • 28 days before their original SAL start date
  • 28 days before their new SAL start date

If it is not reasonably practicable for them to give you this much notice, they should give you as much notice as possible.

You may request this notification in writing.