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Adoption leave policy

For those employees with adoption dates on or after 1 April 2007.

  1. Introduction
  2. Statutory entitlement
  3. How do I claim these benefits?
  4. Adoptive pay
  5. Starting adoptive leave
  6. Overseas adoption
  7. Keeping in touch
  8. Frequently asked questions
  9. Appendices


The University recognises the importance of supporting all employees in their obligations to their families. This Adoption Leave Policy, which also applies to employees adopting children from overseas (see Overseas Adoption section), has been designed to explain the benefits of the University scheme and to set out your obligations under it.  This policy is inclusive of same-sex parents.

If you have any queries regarding the information in this document or would like further advice please contact Human Resources on ext. 3096 or e-mail:

Statutory entitlement

Employees who have 26 weeks' continuous service with the University leading in to the week in which you are notified of being matched with a child for adoption are eligible for Adoption Leave and Pay. These rights are available to

  • Individuals who adopt.
  • One member of a couple where a couple adopt jointly (the couple may choose which partner takes adoption leave).

Please note: Adoption 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 partner's child/children.

How do I claim these benefits?

You must notify your Head of School/Unit and Human Resources when you intend to take Adoption Leave by completing an Adoption Leave Application Form. Notification should be within 7 days of being notified that you have been matched with a child for the purposes of adoption and you must specify the Expected Date of Placement (EDP). If requested to do so, you should provide a "matching certificate" confirming the EDP which should be provided by the Adoption Agency.

Adoptive pay

This section details the different payments that you will be eligible for dependent on your length of service. You should work out how long you have worked at the University and find the appropriate option from the three listed below.

Option 1 - Less than 26 weeks continuous service leading into the week in which you are notified of being matched to a child

  • You will not be entitled to Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP).

Option 2 - more than 26 weeks continuous service leading into the week in which you are notified of being matched to a child -

a - Returning to work

You are entitled to the University's enhanced Adoption Pay package. Currently this is as follows:

  • 16 weeks of full salary.
  • 23 weeks at the Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) rate per week or 90% of your weekly salary if this is less than the SAP rate per week.
  • The remaining 13 weeks will be unpaid.
b - Not returning to work

You are entitled to Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP)

Please note:

  • If you are eligible for the University’s enhanced package (option 2a above) this is subject to you returning to work at the University after your Adoptive Leave for a period of three months. If you do not return to work then you will normally be required to repay the enhanced element of any Adoptive Pay received.
  • You are entitled to a maximum of 52 weeks leave, however you are free to choose a shorter period to suit your own circumstances.

A summary of the three options available is shown in Appendix 1.

Starting adoptive leave

You may commence your Adoption Leave any time from either:-

  • the date of the child’s placement.
  • a fixed date which can be up to 14 days before the expected date of placement.

If Adoption Leave commences unexpectedly because of earlier placement of the child, then you must notify your Head of School/Unit and Human Resources of the date as soon as is reasonably practicable.

You do not need to give notice of your return to work date unless you wish to return before the end of the original Adoption Leave period specified. If you do wish to return earlier then you must inform your Head of School/Unit in writing, with a copy to Human Resources, confirming the date you wish to return - giving at least 8 weeks notice of your return date.

You will receive a letter from Human Resources approximately 10 weeks prior to the end of your Adoption Leave confirming your expected date of return to work. It would be appreciated if you could respond to the letter, confirming that you are intending to return to work on that date or whether you intend to take annual leave directly after your Adoption Leave.

Overseas adoption

This section details your statutory obligations when adopting a child from overseas.

Statutory Entitlement: Conditions as outlined above.

How do I claim benefits? You must notify your Head of School/Unit and Human Resources of your intention to take Adoption Leave (via an Adoption Leave Application Form (Word, 136 KB)) within 28 days of receiving official notification*. To qualify for Adoption Leave and Pay you must provide Human Resources with a copy of the official notification and evidence of the child’s entry into the UK (when this becomes available).

Adoptive Pay: Conditions as outlined above.

Starting Adoptive Leave: You may commence your Adoption Leave on either:-

  • the date the child enters the UK.
  • a fixed date no later than 28 days after the child enters the UK.

You must give 28 days' notice of your intended start date of Adoption Leave.

Additional information

  • Only one period of leave will be available irrespective of whether more than one child enters the UK as part of the same arrangement.
  • Adoption Leave cannot be used to cover the period employees spend travelling overseas to arrange the adoption or visiting the child.

*Official notification is issued via the relevant domestic authority confirming that the adopter has been assessed and approved as being a suitable adoptive parent.

Keeping in touch

You can work for up to 10 days, by mutual agreement with your line manager, during your adoption leave without it impacting on the adoption leave or it affecting your right to statutory adoption pay. The idea behind this is to allow you to keep in touch during your leave and may be used for training or any other activity that will enable you to keep in touch. The days do not have to be worked consecutively and you will be paid at your normal rate of pay or the appropriate rate for the work you undertake on these days. Working part of a day will count as one days work. All payments will include Statutory Adoption Pay where applicable. Managers will be responsible for advising the Salaries Office when employees have been in to work in order that the necessary salary payments can be made.

Your manager may also make reasonable contact with you during your adoption leave period, regardless or not whether you do any work, for example to discuss your return to work.

Frequently asked questions