Outlines the University's policy and procedure on Adoption Leave
The University recognises that staff who adopt a child require sufficient time for bonding, building trust and developing their family unit.
When an employee takes time off to adopt a child or have a child through a surrogacy arrangement, one of the adoptive parents of a child under 18 will be entitled to paid adoption leave subject to eligibility. It is for the parents themselves to decide which of them is to take adoption leave.
This policy can be read in conjunction with the Shared Parental Leave Policy which provides parents with more flexibility in how to share the care of their child during the first year. You can opt to curtail your adoption leave early and to share the remaining leave and pay entitlement with your partner. This enables parents to choose to be off work at the same time and/or take it in turns to have periods of leave to look after their child.
Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP): Statutory sum paid if you meet certain qualifying criteria
Occupational Adoption Pay (OAP): Additional sum paid by the University if you meet certain qualifying conditions
Matched with a child for adoption: ‘Matched’ means that the adoption agency gives you the details of the child they think is suitable for you to adopt.
Maternity Certificate (MATB1): Certificate issued by a registered medical practitioner or practicing midwife confirming the expected week of childbirth.
Parental Order: A Parental Order reassigns parenthood, extinguishing the parental status of the surrogate parents and conferring full parental status and parental responsibility on both intended parents.
Right to Attend Adoption Appointments
If you are the main adopter you will be able to take time off to attend up to five appointments; if you are the secondary adopter you will be entitled to take time off for up to 2 such appointments.
Your entire adoption leave period will count towards your period of continuous employment.
Your incremental date is retained during your period of adoption leave.
Please contact the Pensions Office directly with any queries regarding your pension entitlements during adoption leave.
Annual Leave Entitlement
Whilst on adoption leave you will continue to accrue annual leave based on your contracted entitlement.
Before taking adoption leave you will be informed by the University of the period of annual leave which will accrue during this period.
Although your contract of employment does not allow for holiday to be carried over from one year to another, annual leave accrued during adoption leave can be carried from one leave year into the next and will allow you to add your accrued paid holiday leave to the beginning or end of your adoption leave period.
Applying for adoption leave
To apply for Adoption Leave, you should complete either of the following forms (please see forms below), depending on your circumstances:
1. Adoption Leave Application Form less than 1 year employment
2. Adoption Leave Application Form more than 1 year employment
Employees with more than 12 months continuous service
To qualify for the University Adoption Leave Scheme you should have been continuously employed in the University's service for a minimum period of 12 months before the expected week of placement.
• have been matched with a child to be placed with you by a UK adoption agency; and
• have notified the agency that they agree that the child should be placed with you and agree the date of placement; and
• provide the University with the correct notification of your intentions to take adoption leave; and
• intend to return to work following the adoption
Starting adoption leave
You can choose to begin your leave and pay on:
• The date on which the child is placed with you for adoption; or
• A pre-determined date no earlier than 14 days before the expected date of placement, and no later than the expected date of placement
For employees in Surrogacy arrangements, OAP or SAP cannot commence until the baby is born.
Notification of process
We encourage you to let the University know what your intentions are at your earliest opportunity in discussing your particular adoption leave intentions in confidence with your Line Manager or HR Business Partner or HR Officer. You should discuss the date you will be starting Adoption Leave on with your Line Manager as soon as is reasonably practicable. It is recognised that adoptive parents may not be given much notice of the date when the adoption will take place, and it may not always be possible to give lengthy notice to the University. However, adoptive parents requesting leave should give as much notice as possible to their Line Manager. It is requested that Human Resources receive the following no later than 28 days* before the expected date of placement, if possible:
1. Adoption Placement Paperwork
2. A completed 'Application for Adoption Leave' form, which details:
• how much leave you wish to take
• your leave start date
• the ‘date of placement’ - the expected or actual date the child is placed with you
*With 7 days being the legal minimum period of notice you can give the University
The University will confirm in writing to you within 28 days the leave start and end date.
If you start your adoption leave before the child is placed, you need to be sure that the placement is going ahead. If it is delayed once you have started your leave, you cannot stop your leave and start it again at a later date.
Employees in surrogacy notification process
At least 15 weeks before the due date, you must tell the University when the baby is due and when you want to start your leave in writing. You must give proof to the University that you intend to become the baby’s legal parent.
Provided that the requirements specified are met, you will qualify for the University Adoption Leave Scheme and you will be entitled to:
- 8 weeks on full pay
- plus 16 weeks on half pay
- plus 15 weeks SAP
- plus if you wish, up to 13 weeks on unpaid leave thereafter
Please note that full pay will include any statutory allowances payable and half pay will exclude any statutory allowances payable.
Employees in surrogacy pay arrangements
Conditions are the same as Adoption Leave, except that for Statutory Adoption Pay you must have worked for the University continuously for at least 26 weeks by the 15th week before the week the baby is due.
Returning to Work
If you have already stated that you wish to return to work, you may do so at any time up to the end of 52 weeks from the date your adoption leave commences, except that you may not return within 2 weeks of the placement of your child.
You must give at least 8 weeks’ notice, in writing, of the date on which you intend to return to work.
If you do not return to work and continue in employment with the University for at least 3 months after your adoption leave, you will still receive your statutory adoption pay but the University will reclaim the non-statutory element of your adoption pay from you.
Employees with less than 12 months continuous service at the expected week of childbirth (EWC)
If you do not have sufficient service with the University to qualify for the University Occupational Adoption Leave Scheme you may be entitled to two separate adoption benefits – Statutory Adoption Pay and Adoption Leave.
Statutory Adoption Leave
Regardless of your length of service or hours of work you will be entitled to up to 52 weeks adoption leave, with the right to return to work before or at the end of this period.
You will be entitled to accrued benefits such as annual leave and pension contributions but no remuneration will be paid unless you have at least 26 weeks' continuous service by the week that you are matched with a child.
Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP)
Provided that you have 26 weeks' continuous service by the week that you are matched with a child, and:
- have been newly* matched with a child to be placed with you by a UK adoption agency
- have notified the agency that they agree that the child should be placed with you and agree the date of placement
- provide the University with the correct notification of your intentions to take adoption leave
- intend to return to work following the adoption
You will be entitled to SAP provided that your average earnings are above the lower earnings limit for National Insurance Contributions.
You will receive 6 weeks pay at 90% of your normal week's pay and 33 weeks at the current rate of SAP. If you return to work at the end of the period of Ordinary Adoption Leave (i.e. 26 weeks) you will only be eligible for SAP for 20 weeks rather than 33 weeks.
*Adoption/Surrogacy leave and pay is not available in circumstances where a child is not newly matched for adoption, for example when a step parent is adopting a partners child or where the adoption follows a period of fostering.
Unpaid Adoption Leave
Employees who have less than 26 weeks’ service at the end of the week in which they are notified of a match will be entitled to up to 52 weeks’ unpaid adoption leave.
Employees not returning to work after Adoption Leave
If it is your intention not to return to work following adoption leave then you should complete section 2 of the 'Application for Adoption Leave' form. Your employment with the University will terminate with effect from the date on which the last payment of SAP is made to you (where applicable). If you have 12 months' service prior to the EWC then you will receive SAP only.
Contact during Adoption Leave - 'Keeping in Touch' (KIT) days
Employees on adoption leave can, if agreed, go into work for up to 10 days (separate or in block) without losing entitlement to maternity leave or pay. KIT days are optional and can only take place if both the employer and employee agree.
KIT days are paid but it should be noted that if adoption pay plus pay for KIT days exceed your weekly pay, pay will be capped at a normal week’s pay. This means that if you are on half or nil pay you will receive additional pay however if you work KIT days during adoption leave on full pay you will not receive additional pay.
If you work for less than your normal full day, this will count as one KIT day for the purposes of the maximum of 10 KIT days permitted, although payment will only be made (or time off in lieu accrued) for actual hours worked. It is not possible for you to receive more than a full day’s pay.
Your line manager will record the dates that you attend work for a KIT day and submit these dates (and the hours worked) to Payroll once these days have been worked ( please refer to the form below).
Alternatively instead of receiving a payment for hours worked, by agreement with the manager, you may instead accrue time off in lieu for these hours.
Advantages of Keeping in Touch Days
KIT days can provide a number of advantages for both the University and the member of staff for the smooth transition back after adoption leave. Important projects can benefit from continued input from staff with valued skills, particularly with projects nearing completion;
Training and development can continue during adoption leave. (For example, a training course could take place during the adoption leave that might be important to the member of staff’s role or it may allow the member of staff to attend a conference);
Staff can stay in touch with workplace issues and changes.
KIT days should not be used to cover annual leave, sickness or staff shortages.
In addition to these ‘Keeping in Touch’ days, the employer may maintain reasonable contact with employees on adoption leave to discuss the employee’s plans for returning to work, to provide an update on developments in the workplace or for the purposes of employment engagement activities. To help facilitate this you may wish to discuss with your line manager, prior to commencing your leave, the best form of contact for you. We would encourage you also to keep up to date through the University’s website and through informal contact with your colleagues.
This guidance only covers leave and pay entitlements and responsibilities which apply when an adopter is matched with a child and the child is placed for adoption within the UK. Similar provisions apply where a child is adopted from overseas, although the detailed operation of the scheme differs slightly for practical reasons. You should contact your HR Business Partner or HR Officer if you are adopting a child from overseas and further guidance will be provided.
You can change your mind about when you want your leave to start as long as you give the University at least 28 days' notice before the original date or the new date you want leave to start, whichever is later.
If the date of placement changes before you begin adoption leave, you should discuss the situation with your Line Manager as soon as possible, and give the appropriate notice to change the start date.
The University, for Payroll purposes, requires the following details of the adoption to qualify for Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP):
- The name and address of the adoption agency
- The date you were notified of having been matched with the child
- The date on which the child is expected to be placed for adoption or, if it has already happened, the actual date of placement
Where as an alternative to adoption, the baby is the subject of a parental order following a legal surrogacy arrangement, in addition to a copy of the MATB1 certificate issued to the surrogate parent you must also provide the University with a copy of the ‘Parental Order’ within 6 months of the baby’s birth.