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Am I entitled to pay whilst on adoption leave?

Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) is available to you while you are on adoption leave. You must give your employer certain evidence of the adoption in order to qualify for SAP. This can come in the form of a ‘matching certificate’, which the adoption agency will provide you with. This certificate should state:

  • your name and address;
  • the name and address of the adoption agency;
  • the date that the child will be placed for adoption with you, or if the placement has already been made, the date that the placement was made on;
  • the date that you were told by the adoption agency that the child would be placed in your care.

You must give your employer the information listed above at least 28 days before the date that you have chosen your pay period to start on, or as soon as reasonably practicable. You must also give your employer a signed declaration that you have chosen to receive Statutory Adoption Pay rather than Statutory Paternity Pay: you cannot be in receipt of both. You also need to satisfy certain conditions in order to receive SAP:

  • you must have been notified of being matched with a child who will be placed with you by a UK adoption agency; and
  • you must have been continuously employed by the same employer for 26 weeks ending with the qualifying week (This is the week beginning with the Sunday that you received notification of having been matched with the child and ends on the following Saturday) – there may be some breaks in your employment that don’t stop you from qualifying for adoption leave or pay but you should talk to your trade union or a legal specialist about this; and
  • your gross average earnings per week must be at, or above, the Lower Earnings Limit for the eight weeks up to the end of your qualifying week.

Your employer will tell you whether you qualify for SAP, but if they state that you do not and you do not agree with them you have the right to challenge their decision. You should talk to your employer to start with, and also your trade union representative may be able to help, if there is one where you work. If you still don’t agree with your employer’s decision, you should contact HM Revenue and Customs who will be able to make a formal decision. Their employees enquiry line number is 0845 302 1479. If you find that you don’t qualify for SAP pay, then you may qualify for other benefits and you should talk to your adoption agency about this or you can contact your local Jobcentre Plus office for more information.

If you are part of a couple who is adopting, then your partner may be entitled to claim paid ordinary paternity leave for up to two weeks around the time that the placement of the child in your care is made. Also, you can transfer up to half of your additional paternity leave to them.