Adopting or entering into a surrogacy agreement can be a stressful thing, especially where finances are concerned.
For most workers, Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) is there to lessen the burden. In this guide we will discuss what SAP is, how you claim it, and how much you can get.
What is Statutory Adoption Pay?
Statutory Adoption Pay and Leave is available for most employees who take time off to adopt a child or have one through a surrogacy arrangement.
Statutory Adoption Pay is a weekly payment from employers that helps employees to take time off to look after an adopted or surrogate-born child in the weeks following the child entering their life.
What are the eligibility criteria for Statutory Adoption Leave?
Not all employees will qualify for both leave and pay. To qualify for Statutory Adoption Leave, an employee will need to:
- Provide an employer with the correct notice (see below).
- Have an employment contract.
- Provide proof of the adoption or surrogacy, if the employer asks for it.
Employees who are adopting a child from overseas with a partner will also need to fill in and sign a specific form (SC6).
What are the eligibility criteria for Statutory Adoption Pay?
To qualify for Statutory Adoption Pay, an employee will need to:
- Have continuous employment for a minimum of twenty-six weeks up to the week that they were matched with a child.
- Be on payroll and be earning at least £123 a week over an 8-week period. This is called the ‘relevant period’.
- Provide the correct notice and evidence that the adoption/surrogacy took place.
What if I am adopting a child from overseas?
The only difference for employees adopting from overseas is that they need to have been continuously employed for a period of at least 26 weeks at the beginning of the week when their Adoption Pay starts.
They would also need to sign the form Adopting a Child From Abroad (SC6) if the adoption takes place with a partner.
Is a Surrogacy Arrangement different to adoption?
The only difference for employees in surrogacy arrangements is that they need to have been continuously employed for a period of at least 26 weeks up to any day in the 15th week before the baby’s due date.
They will also need to give their employer proof of their intention to become the legal parent of the baby if the employer asks for it.
Are there any reasons why I wouldn’t qualify for Statutory Adoption Pay?
Yes, there are. Employees will not qualify if they:
- Adopt a stepchild or other family member.
- Become a special guardian or kinship carer.
- Make a private adoption, that is without getting permission from an authority or an adoption agency in the United Kingdom.
How long can I claim Statutory Adoption Pay and Leave?
The maximum time off employees can take for Statutory Adoption Leave is fifty-two weeks. This is split into two parts:
- The first 26 weeks are known as ‘Ordinary Adoption Leave’.
- The last 26 weeks are known as ‘Additional Adoption Leave’.
It’s important to note that you may not receive pay for all of the 52 weeks leave (see later).
When can I start Statutory Adoption Leave and receive pay?
This depends on the type of leave being taken and for what reason:
- For UK adoptions, Statutory Adoption Leave starts on the date that the child begins to live with the employee or no later than fourteen days before the expected placement date.
- For UK surrogacy arrangements, the adoption leave will start the day that the child is born but no later than the following day.
- For overseas adoptions, the adoption leave will begin when the child arrives in the United Kingdom or no later than twenty-eight days after this date.
How much is Statutory Adoption Pay?
The current Statutory Adoption Pay for employees in the United Kingdom is:
- 90% of the employee’s gross average weekly earnings for the first six weeks.
- Either £156.66 a week or 90% of gross average weekly earnings for the next thirty-three weeks, whichever is lower.
Can an employer offer more than the Statutory Amounts?
Employers can choose to offer extra leave or pay and if they do, they will detail exactly how much in their company policies.
What does the law say about Statutory Adoption Pay?
UK employment law protects employee rights when on leave after adopting a child. It’s important to note that holidays, pay, and the right to return to the job are all enshrined in law.
How do I notify an employer of my intention to adopt?
There are several important details that employees need to tell their employer within seven days of getting matched with a child. These are:
- How much leave they would like to take and the start date of leave.
- The ‘date of placement’, i.e., the expected or actual date that the child will be placed with them.
Employers have 28 days to write to employees to confirm their leave start and end date.
Employees who adopt a child from abroad must inform their employer within 28 days of getting their ‘official notification’ which details when the adoption will take place.
How do I notify my employer of a surrogacy arrangement?
Employees using surrogacy arrangements need to inform their employer when the baby is due and when they want their leave to start. This must be at least fifteen weeks before the due date. The employer can ask for this to be in writing.
Do I need to provide proof to receive Statutory Adoption Pay?
Written proof is not required for Statutory Adoption Leave unless requested by an employer. Employees will need to provide proof of adoption to qualify for Statutory Adoption Pay.
As a rule, employees will need to provide proof at least twenty-eight days before they wish to receive Statutory Adoption Pay. It can be less if the time between the child getting matched and placed is less than 28 days. Either way, the notice can be verbal, unless the employer requests it to be in writing.
Statutory Adoption Pay is a vital financial lifeline for many people taking the daunting step of adopting a child or entering a surrogacy agreement.
We hope you have enjoyed our guide. For more useful workplace information, check out the rest of our website.