On 5 April the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills issued new technical guidance for employers on changes to statutory adoption leave and pay.
Changes to statutory adoption leave and pay came into effect on 5 April 2015. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has issued technical guidance for employers which explains the changes.
In summary, the main changes to the law are as follows:
- statutory adoption leave is now a 'day 1' right so that employees do not need to have any qualifying service to be eligible to take such leavestatutory adoption pay is now paid at the earnings related rate for the first six weeks. This means that eligible adopters will be entitled to 90% of their normal weekly earnings with the remaining 33 weeks paid at the lower of the earnings related rate or the flat rate (currently £139.58 per week). Note that qualifying conditions for statutory adoption pay continue to apply
- prospective adopters who have a child placed with them under the 'fostering for adoption' scheme now qualify for statutory adoption leave and pay
- parents who are having a child through a surrogacy arrangement and who have or intend to apply for a Parental Order (making them the legal parents of a child) now qualify for statutory adoption leave and pay
- single adopters and one of the adopters in an adopting couple will be entitled to paid time off to attend up to 5 adoption appointments. Where there are joint adopters, the other adopter may be entitled to unpaid time off to attend up to 2 adoption appointments
- parents having a child through a surrogacy arrangement may be entitled to unpaid leave to enable them to accompany the surrogate mother to up to 2 antenatal appointments, but this is subject to eligibility criteria.
Only one person in an adopting/surrogacy couple is entitled to adoption leave and pay, the other parent may be entitled to statutory paternity leave and pay.
However, in the case of joint adopters, the parent who took the paid time off to attend the adoption appointments cannot claim statutory paternity leave and pay.
Working parents who adopt a child may also qualify for shared parental leave and pay but this will involve curtailing their statutory adoption leave and pay and opting into the new shared parental leave system.
This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.