Adoptive Parents – Rights to Leave & Pay

A Basic Summary (PL515 Rev 1)

The Government is committed to helping working parents. Rights to leave and pay for adoptive parents have been introduced for employees whose children are placed with them on or after 6 April 2003.

At the same time, the Government is increasing and extending maternity leave and pay, introducing rights to paid paternity leave, and the right for parents of young children to apply to work flexibly. The rights, together with existing rights to parental leave and time off for dependants, provide parents with more opportunities than ever before to balance work and family life, whilst being compatible with, and beneficial to business efficiency.

This document provides some basic information on the rights to:

  • adoption leave and pay
  • paternity leave and pay when a child is placed for adoption.

It does not attempt to describe the rights in detail and should not be taken as an authoritative statement of the law.

This document covers only the leave and pay rights where a child is matched and placed for adoption within the UK. The measures will also be available where a child is adopted from overseas, although the detailed operation of the scheme will differ slightly for practical reasons. Further guidance on the rights in cases of inter-country adoptions will be available in due course.

The rights to adoption and paternity leave and pay entitle eligible employees to take paid leave when a child is newly placed for adoption. Adoption leave and pay are available to:

  • individuals who adopt
  • one member of a couple where a couple adopt jointly (the couple must choose which partner takes adoption leave)

The partner of an individual who adopts, or the other member of a couple who are adopting jointly, may be entitled to paternity leave and pay.

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