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Adoption & Surrogacy Leave

The rights to adoption leave and pay entitle eligible employees to take paid leave when a child is newly placed for adoption and employees who become legal parents of a child by applying for a parental order in a surrogacy situation.

Where a couple adopt or enter into a surrogacy arrangement jointly, the couple must decide which partner takes adoption/surrogacy leave. The other partner may be entitled to maternity support leave and paternity leave subject to meeting the eligibility criteria outlined in the Paternity Leave policy.

Line Managers must ensure that all employees are aware of the procedure for notifying and applying for Adoption/Surrogacy leave in their departments.

Before you commence Adoption/Surrogacy leave your line manager should discuss with you suitable arrangements to maintain contact during your leave. It is recommended that during your Adoption/Surrogacy leave you are kept informed about organisational and department issues. For example, copies of departmental correspondence, newsletters, minutes of staff meetings and where possible, invitations to social events should be forwarded.

We recognise that if you continue to feel part of your team, your return to work will be less traumatic and your commitment is more likely to be maintained. You may want to consider arranging ‘Keeping in Touch days’ during your Adoption/Surrogacy leave.

You are responsible for ensuring that you follow the correct certification process. All Adoption/Surrogacy absences must be covered by a matching certificate which is provided by the Adoption Agency or in the case of a surrogacy arrangement evidence of a parental order is needed.

  • Adoption/Surrogacy leave of up to a maximum of 52 weeks.
  • Adoption/Surrogacy pay during leave comprises two parts - statutory adoption pay and occupational adoption pay.
  • A right to return to work on conditions no less favourable than those which would have been applied if the leave had not been taken.
  • The main adopter will be able to take paid time off for up to five adoption appointments. The secondary adopter will be entitled to take unpaid time off work for up to two appointments.
  • Employees and agency workers who have a qualifying relationship with a pregnant woman or an expected child are entitled to take unpaid time off work to accompany that pregnant woman at up to two antenatal appointments.
  • Annual leave entitlement is taken according to your conditions of service.
  • To retain your terms and conditions of service.
  • To receive an amount of statutory adoption/surrogacy pay, paid via payroll.
  • Protection from dismissal for any reason connected with adoption/surrogacy leave until you return to work.

The main adopter will be able to take paid time off for up to five adoption appointments. The secondary adopter will be entitled to take unpaid time off for up to two appointments. Adoption appointments are appointments made by an adoption agency relating to a child being placed for adoption or for fostering for adoption placement.

Employees and agency workers who have a qualifying relationship with a pregnant woman or an expected child are entitled to take unpaid time off work to accompany that pregnant woman at up to two antenatal appointments.

Employees will have the right from day one of their employment. Agency workers will qualify after 12 weeks in the same assignment. The right to time off is capped at a maximum of six-and-a-half hours on each occasion, which can include travelling time, waiting time and attendance.

You should inform your manager and the Absence Team by completing the application form within 7 days of being notified by the Adoption/Surrogacy Agency that you have been matched with a child for adoption (unless this is not reasonably practicable) or in the case of surrogacy where you have applied for a parental order under a surrogacy arrangement.

The following information must be included:

  • Adoption/Surrogacy application form for all staff (except teachers)
  • Adoption/Surrogacy application form for teachers
  • The expected date that a child is to be placed and the Matching Certificate from the Adoption Agency confirming that you have been matched with a child for adoption.
  • Or in the case of surrogacy, evidence that you have applied for a parental order under a surrogacy arrangement
  • The date you want the ordinary Adoption/Surrogacy leave to start. Adoption/Surrogacy leave will commence on the date of the child’s placement (whether this is earlier or later than expected) or on a fixed date which can be up to 14 days before the expected date of placement.

Statutory Adoption/Surrogacy Pay is a scheme for most employees to get a basic amount of Adoption/Surrogacy pay from their employers and is paid for up to 39 weeks. It will be paid to you along with Occupational Adoption/Surrogacy Pay if you are entitled to this.

You are entitled to SAP if:

  • You have been continuously employed by Carmarthenshire County Council for at least 26 weeks ending with the qualifying week. The qualifying week is the week beginning with the Sunday that you (the main adopter) are notified of having been matched with a child and ends on the following Saturday.
  • You have average weekly earnings in the 8 weeks at the end of the qualifying week equal to the lower earnings limit for National Insurance Contributions.

If entitled to SAP you will receive:

  • For the first 6 weeks - 9/10ths or 90% of your average weekly earnings.
  • For the subsequent 33 weeks – the lesser of the standard rate of SAP or 90% of your average weekly earnings.

Occupational Adoption/Surrogacy Pay (OAP) is a payment made if you have at least 1 year’s continuous local government service leading into the week you were notified of being matched with a child for adoption or in the case of surrogacy have applied for a parental order.

If entitled you (except Teachers) will receive:

  • For the first 6 weeks of absence - 9/10ths or 90% of a week’s pay offset against SAP.
  • For the subsequent 12 weeks – If you return to work you will also be entitled to half pay. This is not offset against SAP except where the combined pay and benefits (e.g. SAP) exceed full pay. In this instance a week’s full pay will be offset against the SAP payments. You have the option to spread this over a maximum of 33 weeks if you wish to obtain more equal payments.
  • For the subsequent 21 weeks – the lesser of the standard rate of SAP or 90% of your average weekly earnings.

If entitled Teachers will receive:

  • For the first 4 weeks of absence – full pay offset against SAP.
  • For the next 2 weeks of absence - 9/10ths or 90% of a week’s pay offset against SAP.
  • For the subsequent 12 weeks – If you return to work you will also be entitled to half pay. This is not offset against SAP except where your combined pay and benefits (e.g. SAP) exceed full pay. In this instance a week’s full pay will be offset against the SAP payment. You have the option to spread this over a maximum of 33 weeks if you wish to obtain more equal payments.
  • For the subsequent 21 weeks – the lesser of the standard rate of SAP or 90% of their average weekly earnings.

Both SAP and OAP will be subject to normal deductions, i.e. tax, national insurance and pension.

Having returned to work you must work for a period of at least 13 weeks. If you do not return to work for the stated period then you will have to repay any overpayment of Occupational Adoption/Surrogacy Pay.

If you have less than 1 year’s service leading into the week in which you are notified of being matched with a child for adoption or in the case of surrogacy have applied for a parental order you will be entitled to 39 weeks (OAL) and 13 weeks (AAL) as detailed below:

Option 1 a ­– If you qualify for SAP your entitlement will be:

  • 6 weeks at 9/10ths of a week’s pay followed by
  • 33 weeks at £151.20 SAP per week (or 9/10ths of average weekly earnings if this is less) and
  • 13 weeks Additional Adoption/Surrogacy Leave (unpaid)

Option 1 b – If you do not qualify for SAP your entitlement will be:

  • 39 weeks OAL (unpaid) and
  • 13 weeks AAL unpaid

The Absence Team will provide you with a SAP1 Form so that a claim for financial support/benefits can be made to the Job Centre Plus or Department of Work and Pensions.

Option 2 (a and b) – this applies if you are unsure of whether you intend to return to work following your adoption/surrogacy leave (this does not apply where a resignation is/has been submitted).

If you have over 1 year’s service leading into the week in which you are notified of being matched with a child for adoption or in the case of surrogacy have applied for a parental order, you will be entitled to remain absent for up to 39 weeks (OAL) and 13 weeks (AAL) as detailed below:

Option 2 a – If you qualify (except teachers) for SAP your entitlement will be:

  • 6 weeks at 9/10ths of a week’s pay followed by
  • 33 weeks at £151.20 SAP per week (or 9/10ths of average weekly earnings if this is less) and
  • 13 weeks unpaid additional Adoption/Surrogacy leave (AAL).

Teachers who qualify for SAP will receive the following entitlement:

  • 4 weeks at full pay plus 2 weeks at 9/10ths of a week’s pay followed by
  • 33 weeks at £151.20 SAP per week (or 9/10ths of average weekly earnings if this is less) and
  • 13 weeks unpaid additional Adoption/Surrogacy leave (AAL).

Option 2 b – If you do not qualify (except teachers) for SAP your entitlement will be:

  • 6 weeks at 9/10ths of week’s pay followed by
  • 33 weeks unpaid leave (OAL) and
  • 13 weeks unpaid leave (AAL)

The Absence Team will provide you with a SAP1 Form so that a claim for financial support/benefits can be made to the Job Centre Plus or Department of Work and Pensions.

Teachers who do not qualify for SAP will receive the following entitlement:

  • 4 weeks at full pay plus 2 weeks at 9/10ths of week’s pay followed by
  • 33 weeks unpaid leave (OAL) and
  • 13 weeks unpaid leave (AAL)

The Absence Team will provide you with a SAP1 Form so that a claim for financial support/benefits can be made to the Job Centre Plus or Department of Work and Pensions.

If following a period of Adoption/Surrogacy leave, you declare your intention to resume duties, then arrangements will be made to pay you 12 weeks at half pay in the next available pay period.

Option 3 (a and b) – this applies if you intend to return to work following your adoption/surrogacy leave.

If you have over 1 year’s service leading into the week in which you are notified of being matched with a child for adoption or in the case of surrogacy have applied for a parental order, you will be entitled to remain absent for up to 39 weeks (OAL) and 13 weeks (AAL) as detailed below:

Option 3 a – If you qualify (except teachers) for SAP your entitlements will be:

  • 6 weeks at 9/10ths of a week’s pay followed by
  • 12 weeks at half pay plus £151.20 SAP per week (or 9/10ths of average weekly earnings if this is less), except to the extent that the half pay plus SAP does not exceed full pay followed by a further
  • 21 weeks at £151.20 SAP per week (or 9/10ths of average weekly earnings if this is less). Alternatively the equivalent amount of 12 weeks half pay (i.e. 6 weeks’ pay) may be paid on any other mutually agreed distribution within the pay period i.e. up to a maximum of 33 weeks – see employee election below and
  • 13 weeks unpaid additional Adoption/Surrogacy leave (AAL)

Teachers who qualify for SAP will receive the following entitlement:

  • 4 weeks full pay plus 2 weeks at 9/10ths of a week’s pay followed by
  • 12 weeks at half pay plus £151.20 SAP per week (or 9/10ths of average weekly earnings if this is less), except to the extent that the half pay plus SAP does not exceed full pay followed by a further
  • 21 weeks at £151.20 SAP per week (or 9/10ths of average weekly earnings if this is less). Alternatively the equivalent amount of 12 weeks half pay (i.e. 6 weeks’ pay) may be paid on any other mutually agreed distribution within the pay period i.e. up to a maximum of 33 weeks – see employee election below and
  • 13 weeks unpaid additional Adoption/Surrogacy leave (AAL)

Option 3 b – If you do not qualify (except teachers) for SAP your entitlement will be:

  • 6 weeks at 9/10ths of week’s pay followed by
  • 12 weeks at half pay and further
  • 21 weeks unpaid leave and
  • 13 weeks unpaid leave (AAL)

The Absence team will provide you with a SAP1 Form so that a claim for financial support/benefits can be made to the Job Centre Plus or Department of Work and Pensions.

Teachers who do not qualify for SAP will receive the following entitlement:

  • 4 weeks full pay plus 2 weeks at 9/10ths of week’s pay followed by
  • 12 weeks at half pay and further
  • 21 weeks unpaid leave and
  • 13 weeks unpaid leave (AAL)

The Absence team will provide you with a SAP1 Form so that a claim for financial support/benefits can be made to the Job Centre Plus or Department of Work and Pensions.

Employee Election - Alternative Pay Arrangements during half pay period.

The occupational Adoption/Surrogacy pay scheme provides 12 weeks at half pay in addition to SAP if you are returning to work for at least 13 weeks, as long as the two combined do not exceed full pay. Therefore, 6 weeks’ full pay may be spread over any other mutually agreed distribution within the paid leave period i.e. up to a maximum of 33 weeks. The distribution of the payment will be agreed between you and the Absence Team.  The requirement that earnings including SAP during the additional pay period are restricted to full pay remains in place.

If after confirming your intention to return to work, you do not return to local authority employment for at least 13 weeks you will be asked to refund the half pay or such part thereof, if any, as we may decide.  Payments made to the employee by way of SAP are not refundable.

Adoption leave will commence on the date of the child’s placement (whether this is earlier or later than expected) or on a fixed date which can be up to 14 days before the expected date of placement.

You may change the date from when you wish to commence Adoption/Surrogacy leave providing that you give 28 day’s notice.

You can do 10 days’ (or less) work without bringing your Adoption/Surrogacy leave to an end. These 10 days are known as ‘keeping in touch (KIT) days’. Working for part of a day will count as one full day out of the 10 available KIT days.

You will be paid your contractual rate of pay which will be offset against SAP.

Such days will be by mutual arrangement, including the timing and type of work to be undertaken. These days are intended to encourage those on Adoption/Surrogacy leave to keep abreast of developments within the Authority as a whole, as well as your own department. These duties may include attending team meetings, attending training or undertaking any work which you may do as determined by your contract of employment. However, they are more than social visits or visits to discuss your return to work.

Managers cannot insist on you attending any ‘keeping in touch’ days. Equally, you cannot insist on being given any work to do. However, managers are encouraged to arrange such days should you wish whilst on Adoption/Surrogacy leave.

You do not have the right to extend your maximum Adoption/Surrogacy leave due to the fact that you have attended ‘keeping in touch’ days. 

To apply for a KIT day(s) please complete the ‘KIT’ form. Your Line Manager will authorise and forward to the Absence Team for processing.

The date on which you return to work is for you to decide providing it is prior to the end of the period of 52 weeks beginning with the week in which Adoption/Surrogacy leave commences.

It is suggested that a return to work date is discussed between you and your manager prior to the commencement of your Adoption/Surrogacy leave.

You will need to give at least 8 weeks (28 days for teachers) notice by completing the ‘Notification of Return from Adoption/Surrogacy Leave Form’ of your intention to return to work following Adoption/Surrogacy leave.

If you change your mind about the date you want to return to work, you should give at least 8 weeks (28 days for teachers) written notice before the new date.

You are entitled to request to return on different hours of work or job share.  Further information about such requests can be found in the Flexible Working Policy and Procedure and or Job Share Policy and Procedure.

If you wish to delay your return to work to a date after the end of your full Adoption/Surrogacy Leave (52 weeks) you will need to apply either for unpaid leave, parental leave or a career break in line with our policies and procedures. All applications should be made at least 8 weeks before the expected date of return and are subject to the eligibility criteria within the policies and procedures.

If you decide that you do not wish to return to work after adoption/surrogacy leave, then you must give your manager and the Absence Team notice of termination required by your contract of employment.  However, it will usually help us if you can give as much notice as possible.  As long as you specify the date on which you wish to terminate your contract (this could be the first day you are due back at work after adoption/surrogacy leave) this will not of itself, mean that you are no longer entitled to adoption/surrogacy leave or pay for the rest of the adoption/surrogacy leave period. 

If for any reason connected with your health, you are not fit to return to work at the end of your Adoption/Surrogacy leave period (or at an earlier notified date), you will be deemed as having returned to work and the usual sickness reporting procedures and policies will apply.

If you do not attend work when expected at the end of your Adoption/Surrogacy leave period without an explanation, then this absence will be regarded as unauthorised absence.  Please contact your HR Officer for further advice and guidance.

You continue to accrue annual leave during the full period of your adoption/surrogacy leave (paid and unpaid).  You are encouraged to take any outstanding annual leave due wherever possible before the commencement of ordinary Adoption/Surrogacy leave.  You are reminded that wherever possible annual leave must be taken in the year that it is earned and therefore if the annual leave year is due to end during the Adoption/Surrogacy leave, you should endeavour to take the majority of your full year’s entitlement before starting Adoption/Surrogacy leave.

This also applies to any bank holidays that fall during Adoption/Surrogacy Leave. A compensatory day will be given for each bank holiday that occurs (or for part time employees, the number of bank holidays that you would have received had you not been on Adoption/Surrogacy leave. These can be taken only after returning to work.

Leave entitlement for Term Time employees should be taken either before or after the Adoption/Surrogacy leave period during school closure periods. On return from Adoption/Surrogacy you should be allowed to take any outstanding leave during term time during that leave year if there are insufficient school closures to accommodate the leave in that year.

Where the return from Adoption/Surrogacy leave is so close to the end of the leave year that there is not enough time for you to take all of the annual leave entitlement, you must be allowed to carry over any balance to the following leave year.

A member of the Local Government Pension Scheme who takes Adoption/Surrogacy leave will pay pension contributions on the whole period of paid Adoption/Surrogacy leave.  The contributions will be paid on pay received and will count as reckonable and qualifying service. 

Members of the LGPS, are able to reinstate any ‘lost pension’ arising from a period of unpaid Adoption/Surrogacy leave by paying additional contributions under an Additional Pension Contribution (APC) arrangement on their return to work.  In order to do so, you will need to make an election to re-instate your lost pension within 30 days of returning to work.  Provided you make your election within this period, and the reason for the period of absence is authorised unpaid leave the cost will be shared with the Authority (1/3rd to the member and 2/3rds to the Authority).

However, if the election is made after 30 days of the date on the payslip in which the deduction of unpaid leave is taken, the entire cost will fall on you, as the member.

If you wish to reinstate lost pension during your period of unpaid adoption/surrogacy leave, you will need to complete an online form via the Dyfed pension fund website. Before accessing the online modeller, you will need the lost pensionable pay for the period of unpaid leave (you can request this information from The Absence Team) and the date you return to work. 

If an overpayment of salary or Adoption/Surrogacy Pay is made for any reason, we reserve the right to take the necessary steps to recover the overpayment from you.  Similarly we will take steps to correct any underpayment of salary or any other payment to which you are entitled as soon as it is brought to the attention of the Absence Team.

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Page updated: 13/07/2020 09:34:43