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Subject to Parliamentary approval, new rights to leave and pay for adoptive parents will be introduced for employees whose children are placed with them on or after 6 April 2003.

At the same time, the Government will be increasing and extending maternity leave and pay, introducing new rights to paid paternity leave, and the right for parents of young children to apply to work flexibly. These new rights, together with existing rights to parental leave and time off for dependants, will provide parents with more opportunities than ever before to balance work and family life, whilst being compatible with, and beneficial to business efficiency.

This document provides some basic information on the new rights to:

- adoption leave and pay - paternity leave and pay when a child is placed for adoption.

It does not attempt to describe the rights in detail and should not be taken as an authoritative statement of the law.

This document covers only the new leave and pay rights where a child is matched and placed for adoption within the UK. The new measures will also be available where a child is adopted from overseas, although the detailed operation of the scheme will differ slightly for practical reasons.

The new rights to adoption and paternity leave and pay will entitle eligible employees to take paid leave when a child is newly placed for adoption.

Adoption leave and pay will be available to:

individuals who adopt;
one member of a couple where a couple adopt jointly (the couple may choose which partner takes adoption leave).

The partner of an individual who adopts, or the other member of a couple who are adopting jointly, may be entitled to paternity leave and pay.

Start dates

Both paid adoption leave and paid paternity leave will be available to employees where an approved adoption agency notifies the adopter of a match with a child on or after 6 April 2003.

Both adoption and paternity leave and pay will also be available to employees where an approved adoption agency notifies the adopter of a match with a child before 6 April 2003, but the child is placed on or after 6 April 2003 (special notice arrangements will apply).

Adoption leave and pay

To qualify for adoption leave, an employee must:

(1) be newly matched* with a child for adoption by an approved adoption agency;

(2) have worked continuously for their employer for 26 weeks leading into the week in which they are notified of being matched with a child for adoption.

*Adoption leave and pay is not available in circumstances where a child is not newly matched for adoption, for example:

(3) Adopters will be entitled to up to 26 weeks' ordinary adoption leave followed immediately by up to 26 weeks' additional adoption leave;

(4) a total of up to 52 weeks' leave.

(5) Ordinary adoption leave will normally be paid leave.

6) Additional adoption leave will usually be unpaid although an adopter may have contractual rights to pay during his period of additional adoption leave.

They can choose to start their leave:

from the date of the child's placement (whether this is earlier or later than expected);


from a fixed date which can be up to 14 days before the expected date of placement.

Leave can start on any day of the week

Only one period of leave will be available irrespective of whether more than one child is placed for adoption as part of the same arrangement.

If the child's placement ends during the adoption leave period, the adopter will be able to continue adoption leave for up to eight weeks after the end of the placement.

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Our Offices:

Leeds: Phoenix House, 3 South Parade, Leeds, LS1 5QX

Harrogate: 41 East Parade, Harrogate, HG1 5LQ

York: 1 Peckitt Street, Clifford's Tower, York, YO1 9SF

Leeds: 0113 2431714

Harrogate: 01423 704070

York: 01904 642727


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