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New laws align adoption with maternity leave

The guidance is not always obvious, and if you are in doubt then it is worth consulting an employment law specialist. For example, adoption leave and pay is due to only one parent in an adopting couple, though the other may be due parental leave and pay. However, this is complicated by the fact that the parent who took time off for appointments as part of the adoption process (see below) is not eligible for statutory parental leave. The changes broadly bring adoption into line with parental leave, but there are some unique points to consider.

Other changes include:

Parents who have not yet formally adopted but are fostering a child with the intention to adopt will be eligible for the same rights as adoptive couples and will be due statutory adoption leave and pay.
Statutory adoption leave and pay will be due regardless of how long the parent has been in employment. There is no minimum qualifying period.
Adoption pay will be 90 per cent of their normal earnings for the first six weeks, reducing to the statutory amount of £139.58 per week, if this is lower, or remaining at the 90 per cent level if not, for the remaining 33 weeks of leave.
During the process of adoption, one parent is entitled to attend five appointments (paid). If a couple is adopting, the other person is allowed unpaid time off to attend two appointments.

These are by no means the only changes in the law. You can read the full technical guidance for employers published by the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills on the website.

Do you have an issue arising from adoption or parental leave? Talk to us. We are experienced employment law specialists and can give you the expert advice you need. Call 01302 320621 or email

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