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Policy Details

Version: 1.0

Reviewed date: 2018

Next review: 2023

Owner: HR Policy Team

Adoption leave

Congratulations and we wish you all the best for this next chapter.

All eligible employees matched with a child or children have a statutory right to take up to 52 weeks Adoption Leave regardless of length of service with the University.

There may also be an entitlement to Adoption Pay. This procedure sets out the statutory rights and responsibilities of employees who wish to take Statutory Adoption Leave and the University Adoption Leave and Pay.

This procedure applies to all eligible employees of the University. All our policies to support Parents and Carers apply equally to all staff, including those in same sex relationships.

The University reserves the right to revise these procedures and guidance. Consequently, these arrangements must be kept flexible to adapt and are not contractual.

If you are adopting from overseas then please contact your HR contact for more details.

If you have any comments about these webpages please email humanresources@exeter.ac.uk

You must be a University employee and

  • be newly matched with a child for adoption by an approved adoption agency; and
  • be the only partner taking adoption leave (when a couple adopts jointly, if one partner is eligible for adoption leave and pay, the other may take paternity/maternity support leave and pay. Similarly, when an individual adopts, if they are eligible for adoption leave and pay, their partner may be entitled to paternity leave and pay).
  • employees matched with a child/children on or after 5th April 2015 are entitled to take up to one year/52 weeks' adoption leave regardless of length of service with the University.
  • give the correct notice to the University.

To qualify for statutory adoption pay, in addition to the above, you must have been employed continuously by the University for a period of 26 weeks or more leading into the ‘matching week’.

Surrogacy

From 5th April 2015 the primary adopter of a child born through a surrogacy arrangement may also be entitled to take adoption leave and pay if they have applied for a parental order. The application for a Parental Order must be made within 6 months of the child’s birth. You must be a University employee and 

  • one of a couple who has obtained a Parental Order for the child or who have, on the day of the child’s birth applied for or intend to apply for a Parental Order for the child
  • give the correct notice

Further information can be found on the government website. Please speak to your HR contact if you are entering a formal surrogacy arrangement.

 

As soon as you have been matched with a child

Inform your PVC/Director of Service in writing, with a copy to your HR contact, no more than 7 days after the date on which you have been notified of the match and at least 28 days (or as soon as reasonably possible) in advance of the date on which you wish the leave to start.

The written notification should include:

  • the date on which the child is to be placed for adoption
  • when you wish your leave to start (this can be up to 14 days before, but no later than, the expected date of placement)

You must also submit documentary evidence, for example a letter from the adoption agency or matching certificate, giving the name and address of the adoption agency and the date on which a child is to be placed for adoption or an official letter confirming the details of the foster to adopt arrangement. A MATB1 form will be required for a surrogacy arrangement.

You will be able to change your mind about the date you wish your leave to start providing you inform your PVC/Head of Service and Human Resources Business Partner, in writing, at least 28 days in advance.

After you have notified your PVC/Director of Service and HR contact, your Human Resources Advisor will arrange to meet with you in order to discuss the particulars of your adoption leave and answer any queries you may have.

Within 28 days of receiving your notification, your HR advisor will write to you to confirm the details of your adoption leave, including the date when your adoption leave will end. By submitting your intention to take adoption leave and pay you are deemed to have confirmed that you are the only partner (if adopting jointly as a couple) doing so.

Commencement of adoption leave

You can choose to begin your adoption leave and pay on the following dates;

  • up to 14 days before the date the child starts living with you (UK adoptions)
  • when the child arrives in the UK or within 28 days of this date (overseas adoptions)
  • the day the child’s born or the day after (if you’ve used a surrogate to have a child)

If you plan to start your adoption leave before the placement date you must be sure that the placement will be going ahead on the date agreed, as it is not possible to stop and start leave again at a later date if the placement is delayed.

Where the baby is born through a surrogacy arrangement and subject of a ‘Parental Order’, the University retains the right to reclaim all payments made in relation to the leave period, and cease the period of leave, if the member of staff fails to provide a copy of the Parental Order within 6 months of the baby’s birth.

Primary adopter

The primary adopter can take paid time off for up to five adoption appointments once they have been notified that they have been matched with a child(ren). Please try, whenever possible, to arrange appointments at times which cause the minimum disruption to work or other work colleagues.

Secondary adopter

The secondary adopter is entitled to take Paternity/Partner leave once the child/children have been placed. Once adopters have been notified that they have been matched the secondary adopter will be entitled to take paid time off for up to two appointments. Please try, whenever possible, to arrange appointments at times which cause the minimum disruption to work or other work colleagues.

Dual approved prospective adopters (Foster to adopt)

The Children and Families Act 2014 contains provisions which require local authorities who are looking after a child for whom they are considering adoption to place them with local authority foster parents who are also approved prospective adopters, on a fostering basis. These carers are referred to as dual approved prospective adopters.

Dual approved prospective adopters may be eligible for adoption leave and pay where they have agreed to have a child placed with them in accordance with section 22C of the Children Act 1989 with a view to them adopting that child. To be eligible for adoption leave and/or pay the child must be matched with the dual approved prospective adopter on or after 5 April 2015.

To be eligible for adoption leave as a dual approved prospective adopter you must:

  • be a local authority foster parent who has been approved as suitable to adopt the child/children you initially foster.
  • have been notified by the local authority of its decision to place a child/children with you in accordance with section 22C of the Children Act.
  • have notified the local authority that you agree to the placement (initially) fostering and the date it will take place.
  • give the correct notice to the University (must be given within 7 days of you being notified by the local authority in accordance with section 22C or as soon as practicable).

Adoption leave and pay are separate entitlements.

Leave

Employees matched with a child are entitled to take up to one year/52 weeks' adoption leave regardless of length of service with the University; comprising 26 weeks' Ordinary Adoption Leave and a further 26 weeks' Additional Adoption Leave, although payment will only be for part of that (see pay section).

Pay

Entitlement to adoption pay will be from the first day of employment. In addition if you are on adoption leave you may be eligible for SAP if you have at least 26 weeks' service at the matching week[1] provided that the average earnings are above the lower earnings limit for National Insurance contributions. SAP is payable for a 39-week period and is included within the weeks of full pay. If you have not been working at the University for 26 weeks by the qualifying week or you do not earn above the lower earnings level then you may be entitled to social security benefits paid by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). If you are entitled to any social security benefit you must inform the pay and benefits team immediately. Your full pay is based on your salary on the first day of leave. In a case where more than one child is placed for adoption at the same time, entitlement to Adoption Leave and Adoption Pay is exactly the same as if there were one child.

If you are working at the University on the day you start your adoption leave and you earn above the lower earnings level, you will be eligible for the University Adoption Pay at:
26 weeks full pay (which may be inclusive of Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP)), then 
13 weeks

at either

  • SAP at the standard rate or a rate equal to 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower), or
  • unpaid leave for 13 weeks, then
13 weeks unpaid leave
If you are working at the University on the day you start your adoption leave and you earn under the lower earnings level and/or you do not have 26 weeks continuous service leading to the matching week you will be eligible for the University Adoption Pay at:
26 weeks full pay (less deductions for benefits paid by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Please note you are required to notify pay and benefits team  of any payments you receive from DWP), then
13 weeks

at either

  • benefits from DWP (if eligible)
  • unpaid leave, then
13 weeks unpaid leave

Employees on fixed term contracts

If you are employed on a fixed term contract, your employment and payment of University Adoption Pay (UAP) will end on the expiry date of the fixed term contract, although Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) will continue to be paid if eligible.

[1] Matching week – the week (Sunday to Saturday) when the adoption agency told you that you have been matched with a child.

If you receive University Adoption Pay, the University may reclaim from you all or part of the non-statutory element of this adoption pay if you fail to return to work for at least 3 months following your adoption leave (or an equivalent period of time if you reduce your hours). This excludes any non-working periods (eg KIT days, parental leave, vacation time for term time only workers) but includes annual leave. Please see the University Policy on Overpayments for details on how the money would be repaid by you to the University. Please ensure that you can repay the University Adoption Pay if you do not return to work.

Unsure about returning to work

If you are eligible for University Adoption Pay but are undecided about whether you wish to return to work you may request that the UAP element of your adoption pay be deferred. If you decide to return to work then payment can be made as a lump sum. All additional payments made by the University on behalf of the employee during this time e.g. employee pension contributions, childcare vouchers, etc. would be reclaimed by the University before the lump sum is paid.