Policy

This guidance has been designed to act as a point of reference. For further details please refer to the full adoption / surrogacy leave policy.

Adoption surrogacy policy [pdf]

Adoption leave is available to employees, specifically one member of a couple who jointly adopt. Whether you will receive pay or not during adoption leave depends on your length of service.

If you are the partner of the primary/main carer who is taking adoption leave, you won't be entitled to adoption leave. However, you may be entitled to receive Paternity/Maternity Support leave.

To qualify for adoption leave

To qualify you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be newly matched with a child for adoption
  • Notify your line manager within seven days of being matched with a child for adoption

Please be aware that leave is not available in cases when a child is not newly matched, e.g. in the case of a step-parent legally adopting a partner’s child or where adoption follows a period of fostering.

Staff and manager guidance

Staff

During the adoption process:

While you are in the process of adopting a child, you will be able to take up to three days’ paid leave to attend court proceedings relating to the adoption/surrogacy*.

Following notification that a child will/is expected to be placed with you for adoption:

As the primary adopter, you will be able to take paid time off to attend up to five appointments connected with the adoption. For example, these may include contact with the child prior to the adoption, or parenting classes. Please be aware your manager may ask you for confirmation of the time and date of the appointment, and to confirm the purpose of the appointment.

Before you give notice of your intention to take adoption leave and pay:

Check the Adoption / surrogacy eligibilty criteria [pdf] to find out the entitlements that would apply during your leave. You should also consider how much adoption leave you want to take. 

Where you are the main/primary adopter, you will automatically qualify for 52 weeks’ Adoption Leave, regardless of your length of service with the College.

Think about when you want to start your Adoption Leave. For example, adoption leave can commence on any day of the week. Your leave can start:

  • on the day the child is placed with you for adoption; or
  • On any day from 14 days before the expected date of placement.
  • Where you are “Fostering to Adopt”, your leave will start from when the child comes to live with you.
  • Discuss your plans with your manager as early as possible
Give consideration to whether you may wish to:
  • Use a proportion of your annual leave entitlement before the start and/or after the end of your Adoption Leave*.
  • (Where you and your partner meet the eligibility requirements) convert part of your Adoption Leave and Pay to Shared Parental Leave and Pay, for you and your partner to share between you*.
  • (For academic staff) apply for an Elsie Widdowson Fellowship*.
  • Discuss any implications on your pension with the Pensions team if you intend to take a period of unpaid adoption leave.

 *Discuss any plans in relation to the above areas with your manager as early as possible.

Give notice of your intention to take Adoption Leave and Pay:

You can do this by sending an e-mail or letter to your manager and the HR Staff Hub confirming:
a) When the child is expected to be placed with you; and
b) The date you intend to start your Adoption Leave.

You must provide this notice within seven days of being notified by the adoption agency that you have been matched with a child for adoption.
You will also need to provide a “Matching Certificate” as provided by the adoption agency; or (for overseas adoption) a Certificate of Eligibility from the UK Authority confirming suitability for adoption*.

Upon receipt of the information above, the HR Staff Hub will write to you to confirm your entitlements.

During your Adoption Leave:

a) If agreed your manager will keep in regular contact with you, for example updating you on what’s happening at work, and promotion opportunities.
b) With your manager’s agreement, you may also attend work or training for up to ten days during your Adoption Leave. For further details see the Keeping in Touch and Shared Parental Leave in Touch days – Guidance for Managers. 

At the end of your Adoption Leave:

a) Where you return to work on your intended return date, you do not need to provide any other notice of your return.
b) If you wish to return to work in advance of your intended return date; or (having taken less than 52 weeks’ Adoption Leave) you wish to return on a date later than that you originally intended you will need to provide your manager and the HR Staff Hub with written notice of your new return date at least eight weeks before your new return date or at least eight weeks before your original return date (whichever is the earlier).
c) If you decide that you do not wish to return to work following your Adoption Leave, you will need to give notice as outlined in your terms and conditions of service
d) You may need to repay the enhanced element of your adoption pay if you do not return to work and continue in employment for at least three months following the end of your Adoption Leave (where applicable).
e) If you wish to change your working hours and return to work on a part-time basis, discuss this with you manager as soon as possible to give time for consideration of your request.  The Flexible Working Policy provides further information on making such a request.

 

Manager

When your member of staff advises you they are going through an adoption process, they have the following entitlements (as applicable):

While they are in the process of adopting a child, they will be able to take up to three days’ paid leave to attend court proceedings relating to the adoption*

Following notification that a child will/is expected to be placed for adoption, where they are the primary adopter:

They will be able to take paid time off to attend up to five appointments connected with the adoption (for example, these may include contact with the child prior to the adoption, or parenting classes).*

*You may request confirmation of the time and date of the appointment, and the purpose of the appointment.

Discuss your member of staff's plan them as early as possible:

This will provide an opportunity to explore their Adoption Leave plans with them, including:

  • Whether they are considering using a proportion of their annual leave entitlement before the start and/or after the end of their Adoption Leave?
  • (Where they and their partner satisfy the eligibility requirements) they may wish to consider converting part of their Adoption leave and Pay to Shared Parental Leave and Pay.
  • (For academic staff) whether they are aware of the Elsie Widdowson Fellowship.

Providing formal notice of an intention to take Adoption/Surrogacy Leave:
 
Your member of staff will need to:
  • Send an e-mail or letter to you and the HR Staff Hub confirming when the child is expected to be placed with them and the date they intend to start their Adoption Leave.
  • They must provide this notice within seven days of being notified by the adoption agency that they have been matched with a child for adoption.
  • They will also need to provide a “Matching Certificate” as provided by the adoption agency; or (for overseas adoption) a Certificate of Eligibility from the UK Authority confirming suitability for adoption.
HR will:
  • provide written confirmation of entitlement and advise Payroll
  • be available to provide policy advice and support to you and your staff member if you have any questions about their Adoption Leave entitlements.
During Adoption Leave:

Before your staff member starts Adoption Leave, discuss with them arrangements for keeping in touch (for example the best way to make contact, and how often), and the types of things they want to be kept up to date about.

With your agreement, your staff member may also attend work or training for up to ten days during their Adoption Leave.  For further details see the Keeping in Touch and Shared Parental Leave in Touch days – Guidance for Managers. 

At the end of Adoption Leave:

Where your member of staff returns to work on the date originally intended, they do not need to provide you with any other notice of their return.

If they wish to return to work in advance of their intended return date; or (having taken less than 52 weeks’ Adoption Leave) they  wish to return on a date later than that originally intended they will need to provide you with written notice of their new return date at least eight weeks before the new return date or at least eight weeks before the original return date (whichever is the earlier).

  • If your member of staff decides that they do not wish to return to work following their Adoption Leave, they will need to provide you with notice as outlined in their terms and conditions of service.
    • They may need to repay the enhanced element of their adoption pay if they  do not return to work and continue in employment for at least three months following the end of their Adoption Leave (where applicable).
  • If your member of staff requests to return to work on a part-time basis, you should consider this positively, accommodating their request where possible.  The Flexible Working Policy provides further information. The HR Staff Hub will also be available to provide advice and guidance on considering such requests. 

Accessible documents

Some of the downloadable documents linked to on this page are not accessible. For accessible versions, please contact hrpolicy@imperial.ac.uk.