Statutory Adoption Leave (overseas adoptions)
If you live in the UK and adopt a child from overseas you may have the right to take up to 52 weeks' Statutory Adoption Leave and receive Statutory Adoption Pay for part of that time. Your partner may also be able to take Statutory Paternity Leave and Pay.
Company adoption leave and pay schemes
Your employer may have an adoption leave and pay scheme which could be more generous than the statutory scheme. Check your employment contract or staff handbook for details or ask your employer. Your employer can't offer you less than your statutory rights.
Qualifying for Statutory Adoption Leave with overseas adoptions
If you qualify, you have the right to 52 weeks of Statutory Adoption Leave. This is made up of 26 weeks of Ordinary Adoption Leave followed by 26 weeks of Additional Adoption Leave. If you are adopting as a couple only one of you can take adoption leave, however a partner may qualify for statutory paternity leave and pay.
To qualify for Statutory Adoption Leave you must:
- be the child's adopter
- have received official notification confirming the central authority has, or is prepared to, issue a certificate confirming you are eligible to adopt and have been assessed and approved as being a suitable adoptive parent
So long as you meet the above criteria and you give your employer the right notice, you can take Statutory Adoption Leave no matter how:
- many hours you work
- much you are paid
You must give your employer notice that you want to take Statutory Adoption Leave. You will need to be able to confirm to your employer that you have received official notification. This is when you receive notification that the central authority is prepared to issue a certificate or has issued the certificate.
If you are adopting a relative from overseas you can also qualify for Statutory Adoption Leave and Pay if you have been assessed and approved as being a suitable adoptive parent.
If you don't qualify for Statutory Adoption Leave
If you don't qualify for Statutory Adoption Leave speak to your employer. They may offer enhanced adoption rights that you are entitled to.
If you are a worker, your employer may allow you to take unpaid leave. Or, you could consider taking paid holiday, unpaid leave or parental leave. You may still be entitled to Statutory Adoption Pay. Find out more by following the link below:
Taking your Statutory Adoption Leave
If you qualify, you have the right to 52 weeks of Statutory Adoption Leave. This is made up of 26 weeks of Ordinary Adoption Leave followed by 26 weeks of Additional Adoption Leave.
You can start your leave either:
- from the date the child starts living with you
- up to 14 days before the date you expect the child to start living with you
Your leave can start on any day of the week.
Telling your employer about your Statutory Adoption Leave
You must give your employer:
- the right notice of when you want to start your Statutory Adoption Leave and Pay
- evidence to confirm your entitlement
- this notice in writing if your employer asks you to
There are three stages to the notice you must give.
First notification stage
You should tell your employer both the date on which:
- you received official notification
- your child is expected to enter the UK
When you must do this depends on how long you have worked for your employer.
You must give your employer notice within 28 days of receiving official notification if you have worked for them for 26 weeks.
If you haven't worked for them for 26 weeks, you must give notice within 28 days of completing 26 weeks' service.
Second notification stage
You must give your employer at least 28 days' notice of the actual date you want your Statutory Adoption Leave and Statutory Adoption Pay to start. You can give this notice at the first notification stage if you know the date. Statutory Adoption Leave and Pay cannot start before the child enters the UK.
You can change your mind about the date you want your leave to start but must tell your employer at least 28 days before the new date. If this is not possible you must tell your employer as soon as is reasonably practical.
Third notification stage (after the child has entered the UK)
You must tell your employer the date your child actually entered the UK. You must do this within 28 days of your child's date of entry. If you are also claiming Statutory Adoption Pay you need to give evidence of the entry date. This could be a copy of a passport stamp or visa.
Shared Parental Leave and Pay
If you have adopted a child, you and your partner could be able to enjoy shared rights to leave and pay. This can give you more flexibility and choice when considering your work and caring commitments during your child’s first year.
More information is available on the 'Shared Parental Leave and Pay' page.
What to do if you've problems taking Statutory Adoption Leave
If you have a problem taking your Statutory Adoption leave, talk to your employer first of all - it may be a simple misunderstanding. If this doesn't work, you may need to make a complaint using your employer’s grievance procedure: