Introduction to this document

Adoption leave checklist


This checklist sets out the main issues to be considered by an employer when an employee wishes to take adoption leave.

Adoption appointments

Note that prospective adopters who have been notified that an adoptive child is (or is expected) to be placed with the family for adoption are also entitled to time off to attend adoption appointments. As a statutory minimum, the main adopter is entitled to paid time off to attend up to five adoption appointments. The co-adopter is entitled to unpaid time off to attend up to two adoption appointments.



Adoption leave rights now mirror maternity leave rights. Consequently, the only requirement for eligibility is that the adoptive parent has notified their agency that they agree to the child being placed with them on the expected date of placement.  To be entitled to statutory adoption pay, an employee must be an employed earner (this means that they must be an employee or office holder (for example, a director), pay Class 1 NI contributions and have average weekly earnings of at least the NI contributions lower earnings limit) with at least 26 weeks' service at the time they are notified of the match by an approved adoption agency.

Be aware that if the child’s placement is terminated during the employee’s adoption leave, they will continue to be entitled to adoption leave and pay for up to eight weeks after the placement ends.


Other family-friendly rights

The main adopter may choose to curtail their entitlement to adoption leave/pay and convert the balance into shared parental leave/pay to be shared between them and the co-adopter

Employees who are parents of children aged under 18 will also have the right to take unpaid parental leave for the purpose of caring for a child for whom they are responsible.