Adoption may be undertaken by single people, married couples, civil partners, same-sex couples and unmarried couples.
Couples can be eligible for adoption leave and pay if they are:
- Matched for adoption with a child by an adoption agency.
- Parents who adopted children from overseas in accordance with that jurisdiction.
- Foster parents who are approved for adoption under a “fostering for adoption” scheme.
- Parents of a child born to a surrogate mother.
Couples must choose which of them will take adoption leave and pay. Their partner or spouse may then be entitled to paternity leave and pay if they meet the usual eligibility criteria.
Adopting couples can also opt for shared parental leave.
An employee who qualifies to take ordinary adoption leave (OAL) must give their employer notice of their intention to take OAL no more than seven days after the date on which they have been told by the adoption agency that they have been matched with a child.
Notification should include:
- The date on which the child is expected to be placed with the employee for adoption;
- The date on which the employee has chosen their OAL to begin, which will be either the date on which the child is placed with the adopter or on a specified date, no more than 14 days before the date on which the child is expected to be placed, and no later than the day of placement.
Within 28 days of receipt of such a notice, the school must notify the employee of the date on which their adoption leave will end.
In the case of surrogacy, the surrogate is entitled to maternity leave and pay.
Currently, the commissioning mother is not entitled to maternity rights, but either of the commissioning parents may elect to take adoption leave either on their own or in conjunction with the other partner taking paternity leave and/or shared parental leave, provided that they fulfil the eligibility requirements in each case.