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My employers say I'm not entitled to adoption leave because I'm not an employee. Is this correct?

It is true that only employees are entitled to Adoption Leave. Some employers try to escape their obligations by claiming that their staff as self-employed when legally they are employees. You can even find that you are taxed as if you are employed but still denied the legal rights that an employee would enjoy.

If you are genuinely an employee, you will be entitled to Adoption Leave.

What matters is not just what the written contract terms say, but also all the surrounding circumstances. This is a complicated issue.  You can find out more about it from your trade union. There is also more information in the Basic Rights at Work section of the TUC website.