1. Employment Legislation Governing Adoption Leave and Pay
1.1 Rights to leave and pay are provided under the Employment Act 2002 for employees who become adoptive parents and whose children are placed with them on or after 6th April 2003. The detail of the rights is set out in the Paternity and Adoption Leave Regulations 2002 and the Statutory Paternity and Statutory Adoption Pay (General) Regulations 2002. Adoption Leave and Pay is available to employees who adopt as individuals or to one member of a couple where the couple adopt jointly.
2. Eligibility and Entitlement
2.1 To qualify for the University Adoption Leave benefits an employee should have been continuously employed in the University's service for a minimum period of 12 months before the commencement of Adoption Leave. Employees who have been continuously employed in the University's service for 26 weeks but less than 12 months before the expected start of Adoption Leave may qualify for the Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP).
2.2 If an employee has been accepted to adopt, they should contact the Human Resources Manager/Officer responsible for their department or section to discuss arrangements and advise their Head of Department/Section, or their line manager of their situation
2.3 Some of the requirements and benefits of the University's Adoption Leave arrangements vary from the statutory requirements and benefits. The University scheme is set out below.
2.4 To qualify for the adoption leave under this agreement an employee should have been continuously employed in the University's service for a minimum period of 12 months before the expected commencement of adoption leave. Where both adoptive parents are employed they must choose which of them is to benefit from Adoption Leave.
2.5 All other employees who have been continuously employed in the University's service for less than 12 months before the expected commencement of adoption leave may qualify for Statutory Adoption Leave (further information available from Human Resources).
2.6 Formal notification of adoption, stating the expected date of placement, should be made not later than 7 days after the notification of being matched with a child, together with a written application to take adoption leave (see Appendix A), and where applicable, stating that the employee wishes to return to work with the University; this should be at least 28 days prior to commencement of Adoption Leave.
2.7 Any prospective adoptive parent has the right to paid time off to attend meetings relevant to the 'matching process' but must produce evidence of appointments if requested to do so by the University.
2.8 Entitlement to adoption leave will be calculated from the agreed date of cessation of work i.e. at least 12 months' service by the end of the qualifying week for University Adoption Leave (26 weeks' service for Statutory Adoption Leave).
2.9. An employee who is absent from work for reasons of adoption and who has given notice under 2.6 above of his/her intention to return to work, shall be granted 8 weeks' leave on full pay, 16 weeks on half pay and up to 28 weeks unpaid leave. Adoption leave with full pay mentioned in this agreement will include any relevant statutory adoption pay. Half pay will be paid in addition to statutory adoption pay at the flat-rate to those who are eligible for it for 16 weeks. Statutory pay at the flat-rate will continue to be paid to those who are eligible for it for a further 15 weeks after occupational adoption pay has ceased. No combination of payments should exceed full pay. The University may, at its discretion, extend the period of paid or unpaid leave in cases of hardship.
2.10. Nothing in this agreement shall prejudice the right of the employer to reclaim the whole or part of the non-statutory element of adoption pay if the employee fails to return to work and to continue in employment for at least 3 months.
2.11. An employee who has opted under paragraph 2.6 above to return to work may exercise this right at any time within 52 weeks of the commencement of the adoption leave period. S/he will return to the job in which s/he was employed under the original contract of employment and on terms which would have applied if s/he had not been absent. It is recommended that notification of return to work should be given in writing at least 8 weeks before the intended date of return.
2.12 Where an employee exercises their right to return to work, periods of employment prior to the Adoption Leave absence shall be regarded as continuous employment with their employer following that absence for the purposes of seniority, pension rights, redundancy rights and other similar rights. In this connection, it is agreed:
- Pension rights and contributions shall be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the local superannuation scheme, providing that these provisions do not conflict with any relevant statutory requirements that may at the time apply.
- The employee shall be entitled to receive the normal annual increment on their scale in accordance with their contract of employment to take effect from the normal incremental date.
2.13 These provisions acknowledge the importance of protecting adoptive parents and their children from avoidable risk. In the event of an employee being employed on work which could involve risk to the health and safety of the adoptive parent, or to that of their future child, arrangements will be made to protect both the parent and child, having regard to statutory health and safety provision that may at the time apply.
3. Staff Not Returning To Work
3.1 An employee who satisfies the conditions of paragraphs 2.4 or 2.5 above, but who has not given notice under paragraph 2.6 above of their intention to return to work, may be eligible to receive a flat rate payment of £135.45 [from April 2012], or 90% of average earnings if this is less than £135.45 per week for 39 weeks.
4. Other Provisions
4.1 Average weekly earnings shall be calculated in accordance with the SAP Regulations that may at that time apply.
5. Explanatory Notes on The Provisions Of The Adoption Leave Agreement
5.1 Amendment of employment contract on return to work after adoption leave
While return to part-time work is not a right, the University will give sympathetic consideration to a request from a full-time employee who wishes to return to work on a part-time or job-share basis after adoption leave. The employee should submit their request in writing as early as practicable but in any event not later than 8 weeks before the notified date of return to work.
5.2 Information on vacancies
While this Adoption Leave Provision gives no right of re-employment to an individual who resigns for reasons of adoption, any individual who resigns their post should note that they can approach the University at a later date if they wish to be advised of suitable vacancies.
5.3 Accrual of annual leave during adoption leave
Before taking adoption leave an employee will be informed by the University that annual leave will accrue during their absence on adoption leave (subject to the rule on 'no carry-over' from one leave year to the next). Any leave accrued during the leave year in which adoption leave falls may be used in lieu of an equivalent amount of unpaid adoption leave.
Most employees will be eligible for a benefit known as Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP). Conditions of the SAP Scheme, entitlement, duration of payment and evidence of adoption will be required for SAP and outline details of the scheme are given below.
SAP is paid on behalf of the state by the University.; Staff should note that although SAP arrangements are separate from the University's own adoption leave arrangements, there is some limited interaction between the state scheme and the occupational scheme and this is also described below.
SAP is paid as a flat rate payment of £135.45 [from April 2012], or 90% of average earnings if this is less than £135.45 per week for 39 weeks for those that qualify.
Entitlement to SAP is dependent on:
- (a) at least 26 weeks' continuous service with the current employer continuing into the week in which they are notified of the 'matched with a child for adoption' (the 'matching week')
- (b) normal weekly earnings during the Qualifying Week must be above the lower weekly earnings limit for national insurance contributions in force during the 15th week (i.e. above £107 per week from April 2012)
It should be noted that if an employee is not entitled to SAP at the start of the time during which SAP may be payable, there will be no entitlement to SAP at any time during this period. If an employee is excluded from SAP, Finance (Payroll Section) will advise the employee who may then qualify for other benefits administered by the Benefits Agency.
The employee must notify the employer in writing of their intention to leave work to commence adoption leave at least 28 days in advance of the proposed leaving date, where possible.
The employee will be required to provide evidence of the forthcoming adoption and supply a copy of the Matching Form in order that SAP can be paid.
SAP will be paid at the employee's normal pay interval (i.e. monthly or weekly) for up to 39 weeks.
SAP is payable only for weeks during the Adoption Pay Period in which no work is undertaken for the University. However, up to 10 days' work (Keeping in Touch (KIT) days) may be undertaken at any stage during the adoption leave period, by agreement with the employer. Employees will receive payment at their contractual rate for any KIT days worked, but any adoption pay owing will be offset against payment for KIT days. If work is undertaken for another employer during this period, the University must be informed. Under these circumstances, the payment of SAP by the University will cease.
6.1 Other Points to Note
(a) If an employee qualifies for SAP it will be paid by the employer for a period of up to 39 weeks even if the employee is not returning to work after the child is placed.
(b) SAP may be paid for less than 39 weeks (subject to the early return of an employee) and will only be paid when an employee leaves work to commence adoption leave.
(c) If 90% of earnings is less than £135.45 (from April 2012) per week; the 90% figure will be paid for the full 39 weeks.
(d) Employees paying a reduced rate of national insurance contribution will be entitled to SAP if they are able to satisfy the qualifying conditions.
(e) An employee who is entitled to SAP cannot get Statutory Sick Pay for at least 39 weeks starting with the start of the week in which they first become eligible to Statutory Adoption Pay from the University.
7. SAP and Occupational Adoption Leave
For the purposes of the occupational adoption scheme, all staff will be deemed to be in receipt of SAP.
In order to facilitate payment arrangements, it would be helpful for adoption leave and the Adoption Pay period to commence on a Sunday, where possible.
SAP will be offset against occupational adoption pay as follows:
- during the period of 8 weeks that an employee, who intends to return to work, is receiving full pay;
When an employee is not eligible for SAP, any allowance paid by the Benefits Agency will be offset as above against occupational adoption pay.
SAP will not normally be offset against occupational adoption half pay. However, if during the course of occupational adoption leave, payment of half pay and SAP (at whatever rate) together amount to more than full pay, then the combined payment will be reduced to the level of full pay during the period in which SAP is being paid.
If an employee is entitled to SAP but not Occupational Adoption Pay, then the employee will be entitled to 26 weeks of ordinary adoption leave (during which SAP will be paid) followed by 26 weeks of additional adoption leave (during which SAP will be paid for 13 weeks, and in which 13 weeks will be unpaid). The total adoption leave allowance for such an employee will be 52 weeks.
The Human Resources Office will be pleased to answer any general questions on the above. Queries on the operation of the scheme should be directed to the Payroll and Benefits Manager.
8. Notes and definitions:
Documentary evidence from the adoption agency which provides:
- Name and address of adoption agency
- Name and address of adopter
- The date on which 'matching'; occurred
- The expected date of placement or date placement occurred.
Note: In cases of adoption of a child from overseas, an employee should be in receipt of an official notification showing their eligibility for adoption.
The qualifying week is the week beginning with the Sunday that the adopter receives notification of having been matched with a child and ends on the following Saturday.
The period of time which begins on the date the adopter receives notification of having been matched with a child and for the following seven days.
The earliest an adoptive parent can begin their adoption leave and pay is 14 days prior to the expected date of a child's placement.
Human Resources Services
Updated January 2011
Example of written notification of application for adoption leane
To: Human Resources Services
Head of Department/Section
Please accept this form as notification of my intention to take Adoption Leave and to notify you of the date when I want to start my adoption leave and to begin receiving Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) if I am eligible for it.
The expected date the child is due to be placed is (date) and I attach a copy of the Matching Form.
I would like to start my adoption leave on (date) and if I qualify for SAP, my adoption pay period will start on (date). .
It is my intention to return to work at the end of my adoption leave.
My attention has been drawn to the right of the employer to reclaim the whole or part of the non-statutory element of adoption pay if I fail to return to work and continue in employment for at least 3 months.
Staff should also be aware that the above scheme is additional to current arrangements for paternity leave, parental leave and the scheme to enable staff to take time off to care for dependants (information on all these provisions is also available from Human Resources Services).