My partner is adopting. Can I share her adoption leave?

You can choose between you which of the two adopting parents is to take statutory adoption leave. Only one of you can take it. That person is known as the primary adopter. It is entirely up to you both to decide who is to be the primary adopter, as long as you are both employees (only employees can take adoption leave).

The other parent (provided they are an employee) can take up to two weeks’ ordinary paternity leave.

The primary adopter must take the first two weeks of statutory adoption leave. After that, with the primary adopter’s agreement, you can opt to share up to 50 weeks of the remaining adoption leave between you under the Shared Parental Leave regime, as long as you both meet the qualifying criteria. Only employees can take shared parental leave.

To be able take shared parental leave you must:

  • be an employee (not, for example, self-employed or an agency worker);
  • share parental responsibility for the child being adopted at the time of the placement for adoption; and
  • have at least 26 weeks’ continuous service at the end of the 15th week before the matching date.

Your partner must be able to satisfy an 'employment and earnings' test.

You can take Shared Parental Leave even if your partner is self-employed, as long as you qualify as an employee and your partner satisfies the 'employment and earnings' test.

The 'employment and earnings' test requires your partner to show that they:

  • have been working as an employee or been self-employed in Great Britain for at least 26 of the 66 weeks up to the matching date; and
  • have average weekly earnings of not less than £30 a week in 13 of those 66 weeks.

For more information, see workSMART's Shared Parental Leave section and the Acas guidance on Shared Parental Leave (PDF, 753KB). You can find out more about Shared Parental Leave in the context of adoption from the TUC's guide Time off and pay for adoptive parents (PDF, 142KB). There is also a useful web portal resource called SPLASH, devised by a group of specialist charities and expert legal advisers to help workers navigate the Shared Parental Leave regime.

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.

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