I'd like to take Ordinary Paternity Leave to adopt. What notice do I need to give?

If you wish to take Ordinary Paternity Leave to adopt (which can be one or two weeks), you must give your employer notice that specifies:

  • the date that you and/or your partner were notified that a child had been matched with you for adoption;
  • the date that you are expecting the child to be placed with you and/or your partner; and
  • the date that you want your paternity leave period to begin.

You must give this notice within seven days of being notified that you have been matched with a child. If this is not possible, then you must give notice as soon as is reasonably practicable.

If you qualify for paternity leave, your employer can ask you to self-certificate using Form SC4 ('Becoming an Adoptive or Parental Order Parent'). This confirms you are entitled to take paternity leave and to receive paternity pay. You only need to submit the certificate once to qualify for both leave and pay.

It is advisable that you make a copy of the completed certificate, so that both you and your employer are clear of the dates and information you have agreed on.

You may also be able to share some of the 52 weeks of statutory adoption leave under the Shared Parental Leave scheme. See workSMART's Shared Parental Leave section for more information or download the TUC guide Time off and pay for adoptive parents (PDF, 142KB).

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.