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 on which the placement was made; and
  • 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 SAP rather than Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP): you cannot be in receipt of both. You also need to satisfy the following 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;
  • 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); and
  • made gross average earnings per week at or above the Lower Earnings Limit (£113 per week) during the eight weeks up to the end of your qualifying week (two months, if you are paid monthly).

Your employer will tell you whether you qualify for SAP. If your employer does not believe you qualify, they must give you a completed Form SAP1 within seven days, explaining why they think this. You will have the opportunity to take this up with the Statutory Payment Disputes Team at HMRC if you disagree. If you find that you don’t qualify for SAP pay, you may qualify for other benefits. You should talk to your adoption agency about this or contact Citizens Advice and/or your local Jobcentre Plus for more information.

If you are part of an adopting couple, your partner may be entitled to paid Ordinary Paternity Leave for up to two weeks around the time of the placement of the child into your care.

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.