Adoption leave and maternity leave. In many ways they have similar entitlements. The right to 39 weeks statutory pay is the same, the right to 52 weeks off is the same. In both cases you can have time off for pre-birth/placement appointments. Also you have Keeping in Touch days whereby you can come to work for up to 10 days without triggering the end of your leave. Finally, you can cut both short to allow your partner to take Shared Parental Leave. But there are also differences between the 2. In this blog, we look at Adoption leave and how it works.
Who can take adoption leave?
Whereas with maternity leave, the mother automatically gets the leave entitlement, with adoption leave there is a choice to make. When you are placed with a child, you need to decide who the primary adopter is. Both adopters (where it is a joint adoption) cannot take the leave at the same time (though paternity leave could be used).
If a partner is adopting the other partner’s children, there is no entitlement to adoption leave. Nor do you get more than one period of leave if you adopt more than one child. If you adopt two children at different times, however, you do get two periods of leave.
Time off before placement
The main adopter gets the statutory right to 5 paid meetings totalling no more than 6.5 hours before the placement takes place. The other adoptive parent can attend 2 meetings but on an unpaid basis. Any more requests are at the discretion of the employer.
The employer is notified of an adoption via a matching certificate. This acts in much the same way as the MATB1 in a Maternity case; it is the official notification that an adoption is taking place and a copy should be kept by the employer. If the child is adopted from abroad, then you are allowed to ask for evidence from the appropriate authority and also of when the child will enter the UK.
Are foster carers eligible?
If you are a local authority approved foster carer with an expectation that you are to adopt the child in the future in accordance with Section 22C of the Children Act 1998, you may be eligible for Adoption leave or Paternity leave.
What if the adoption breaks down?
If the adoption later breaks down, then you can still take the remainder of the adoption leave that is due. There is no need to cut any leave short.
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