Introduction to this document

Response to adoption appointment time off request

Employees have the statutory right to take either paid or unpaid time off work to attend adoption appointments. Where an employee has submitted a request for time off, use our letter to respond to them.

Right to time off

Under the statutory right, employees (from day one of employment) or agency workers (who have completed the qualifying period of twelve weeks) adopting on their own are entitled to paid time off work to attend up to five adoption appointments. Employees or agency workers jointly adopting may elect for one of them to take paid time off to attend up to five appointments, while the other may take unpaid time off to attend up to two appointments. A maximum of six and a half hours off work can be taken for each appointment.


In order to qualify, the employee must have been notified by the adoption agency that a child is to be, or is expected to be, placed with them adoption, the appointment must have been arranged by or at the request of the adoption agency and it must be for the purpose of having contact with the child (for example, to bond with the child in advance of the placement) or for any other purpose connected with the adoption (for example, to meet with the professionals involved in the care of the child). The appointment must also take place before the date of the child’s placement for adoption.


You can, if you wish, ask your employee to give you a document showing the date and time of the adoption appointment and that it has been arranged by or at the request of the adoption agency. You can also ask joint adopters to give you a signed declaration stating whether they’ve elected to exercise the right to take paid or unpaid time off (as applicable) - see our Adoption Appointment Eligibility Declaration.

Response letter

Our Response to Adoption Appointment Time Off Request enables you to reply to a request from an adopter for time off to attend an adoption appointment. You can use it whether they’re a single adopter requesting paid time off or a joint adopter requesting either paid or unpaid time off, as it includes optional paragraphs covering all three scenarios. It also has optional paragraphs to cover whether this is the first, subsequent or final appointment. As well as setting out the employee’s entitlement to time off, our letter emphasises that they should only take the time off that they actually need to attend the appointment, and so they will be required to attend work for the remainder of their working day on the date of the appointment. Finally, our letter reminds the employee that if they want further time off for adoption appointments that go beyond their statutory entitlement, they can apply to take paid annual leave.