News and Events

Employment Law A-Z - Adoption Leave

View profile for Molly Mackay
  • Posted
  • Author

In our new regular newsletter feature for 2024, solicitor Molly Mackay will bring you insights into various areas of HR and employment law covering the alphabet. 

A is for… Adoption Leave 

This provision covers employees who adopt a child, those who are foster parents, approved for adoption under a “fostering for adoption” scheme and parents who have a child born to a surrogate mother.

Under Statutory Adoption Leave (SAL), employees may be entitled to Ordinary Adoption Leave (OAL), Additional Adoption Leave (AAL) and/or Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP). 

The employee who is “the adopter” or “Parent A” in a surrogacy is entitled to:

  • Up to 52 weeks’ SAL broken up into 26 weeks’ OAL and 26 weeks’ AAL
  • SAP for up to 39 weeks
  • The right of return to the same job
  • Protection from detriment or dismissal related to taking adoption leave
  • Priority in an offer of suitable alternative employment. 

Unless an employer chooses to enhance their entitlement above the statutory minimum. 

The other partner, if applicable, may be entitled to take paternity leave, additional paternity leave (in select circumstances) and shared parental leave, where the conditions are met. 

It is important to be aware that there are draft Regulations, currently scheduled to come into force in April 2024, which are designed to extend redundancy protection for employees with new families returning to work, including from adoption leave.

This will extend the current right for those on maternity leave to preferential treatment for suitable alternative vacancies in a redundancy situation, and will include those on, about to take, or have recently returned from adoption leave.