Adoption leave
Adoption leave

The following Employment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Adoption leave
  • Ordinary adoption leave (OAL)
  • Entitlement
  • Giving notice and evidential requirements
  • Additional adoption leave (AAL)
  • Disrupted placement or death of a child during adoption leave
  • Rights during ordinary and additional adoption leave
  • Pension contributions and certain other benefits during adoption leave
  • Holiday entitlement during adoption leave
  • Adoptions from overseas
  • more

An employee intending to adopt a child under 18 may be eligible to take up to three different kinds of statutory leave:

  1. ordinary and additional adoption leave

  2. paternity leave (see Practice Note: Paternity leave)

  3. shared parental leave (see Practice Note: Shared parental leave (adoption))

However, one adopting parent may not take all three types of leave.

Where both parents are adopting the child, they must elect which of them is to be the 'adopter', as defined in the Paternity and Adoption Leave Regulations 2002 (PAL Regulations 2002), SI 2002/2788. In order to take adoption leave, the employee must be the adopter (see: Entitlement below). In order to take paternity leave, the employee must be married to, the civil partner or the partner of the child's adopter.

Accordingly, one parent may only initially take paternity leave, whilst the other parent (the adopter) may only take adoption leave, provided all the other qualifying conditions are met. Both parents may take shared parental leave, if they qualify for it, in substitution for some part of the adoption leave entitlement.

Where one person is adopting a child, that individual is the adopter and may only take adoption leave.

Eligibility for paternity leave is not limited to fathers of children being adopted, nor is eligibility for adoption leave limited to the mothers.

For further information see Practice Note: Paternity leave.

Adoption leave is