Introduction to this document

Reply to request for early return from adoption leave


This letter may be used by an employer where an employee gives notice that they wish to return early from adoption leave. If insufficient notice is given, you may choose to accept the date for early return, but you are not obliged to do so and you can postpone the employee's return until the notice requirement has been satisfied or until adoption leave ends, whichever is earlier.


Legal position

Under the statutory provisions, an employee who intends to return to work at the end of their full period of adoption leave doesn’t need to give their employer advance notice that this is their intention - they can simply report for work on their due return date. However, if they wish to return to work early before the end of their adoption leave period, they must give you not less than eight weeks’ advance notice of the date on which they intend to return. The law doesn’t say this notice of an early return has to be in writing so it could be verbal, although it’s always best to ask them to confirm their position in writing (an e-mail will suffice) so that there are no misunderstandings. If your employee fails to give at least eight weeks’ notice, you’re legally entitled to postpone their return until eight weeks have elapsed from the time they gave notice or until adoption leave ends, whichever is earlier. Our Reply to Request for Early Return from Adoption Leave letter has three alternative options. The first is that they have given sufficient notice and therefore you are simply confirming their new early return date. If insufficient notice has been given, the second option enables you to postpone their return date and the third option confirms that you nevertheless agree to accept their early return date.

Shared parental leave

The main adopter may choose to curtail their entitlement to adoption leave/pay and convert the balance into shared parental leave/pay. Our letter also confirms receipt of any notice of such an intention.