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]

Surrogacy leave is available to one member of a couple who jointly enter into a legal surrogacy arrangement. The other member of the couple is entitled to paternity/maternity support leaveWhether you will receive pay or not during surrogacy leave depends on your length of service.

Giving birth on behalf of surrogate parents

If you are pregnant and giving birth on behalf of surrogate parents, you may be eligible for maternity leave and pay.

Find out more about maternity leave.

Paternity/maternity support leave

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

To qualify for surrogacy leave

To qualify you must meet the following requirements:

  • You are becoming a parent via a legal surrogacy arrangement (both through adoption and where the baby will be the subject of a Parental Order)
  • You are the only partner taking surrogacy leave (where you are jointly entering into an agreement)
  • Notify your line manager at least 28 days before you intend to take your leave in the case of surrogacy arrangements.
  • Have average earnings of at least the lower earnings limit for NI contributions.

Staff and manager process

Staff

1. During the surrogacy process:

While you are in the process of becoming a surrogate parent via a legal surrogacy agreement, you will be able to take up to three days’ paid leave to attend court proceedings relating to surrogacy*.  If you are a potential Parental Order applicant in relation to surrogacy, you will be able to accompany the surrogate mother to two antenatal appointments.*

*Your manager may ask you for confirmation of the time and date of the appointment, and to confirm the purpose of the appointment.

 2. Before you give notice of your intention to take Surrogacy Leave and Pay:
  • Check the Adoption/surrogacy eligibilty criteria [pdf] for entitlements that would apply during your leave.
  • Consider how much Surrogacy Leave you want to take.  You will automatically qualify for 52 weeks’ Surrogacy Leave, regardless of your length of service with the College.
  • Think about when you want to start Surrogacy Leave. Surrogacy Leave can commence on any day of the week. Your leave can start on the day the child is born, or the day after
  • Discuss your plans with your manager as early as possible.
3. 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 Surrogacy Leave*
  • (Where you and your partner meet the eligibility requirements) convert part of your Surrogacy 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 surrogacy leave.

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

4. Give notice of your intention to take Surrogacy Leave and Pay:

You can do this by sending an e-mail or letter to your manager and HR contact confirming when the baby who is the subject of the surrogacy agreement is due to be born and the date you intend to start your Surrogacy Leave.

  • You must provide this notice at least 28 days before you intend to start your leave.
  • You will also need to provide a copy of the MAT B1 Certificate issued to the mother (and, where the baby is the subject of a Parental Order following surrogacy, you will need to provide a copy of the Parental Order within six months of the baby’s birth).
  • Upon receipt of the information above, your HR representative will write to you to confirm your entitlements.
5. During your Surrogacy Leave:
  • Your manager will keep in regular contact with you, for example updating you on what’s happening at work, and promotion opportunities.
  • With your manager’s agreement, you may also attend work or training for up to ten days during your Surrogacy Leave. For further details see the Keeping in Touch and Shared Parental Leave in Touch days - Guidance for Managers.
6. At the end of your Surrogacy Leave:
  • Where you return to work on your intended return date, you do not need to provide any other notice of your return.
  • If you wish to return to work in advance of your intended return date; or (having taken less than 52 weeks’ Surrogacy Leave) you wish to return on a date later than that you originally intended you will need to provide your manager and HR representative 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).
  • If you decide that you do not wish to return to work following your Surrogacy Leave, you will need to give notice as outlined in your terms and conditions of service.
  • You may need to repay the enhanced element of your Surrogacy Pay if you do not return to work and continue in employment for at least three months following the end of your Surrogacy Leave (where applicable).
  • If you wish to change your working hours and return to work on a part-time or flexible basis, discuss this with your manager as soon as possible to give time for consideration of your request.  The Flexible Working Policy provides further information making such a request.

Manager

1. When your member of staff advises you they are going through a surrogacy process, they have the following entitlements (as applicable):
  • While they are in the process of becoming a surrogate parent via a legal surrogacy agreement, they will be able to take up to three days’ paid leave to attend court proceedings relating to the surrogacy.
  • Both men and women who are potential applicants for a Parental Order in relation to surrogacy, will be able to accompany the pregnant woman to two antenatal appointments, which could include medical examinations and parenting classes.*

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

2. Discuss your member of staff’s plans with them as early as possible:

Manager and staff member talkingThis will provide an opportunity to explore their Surrogacy 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 Surrogacy Leave?
  • (Where they and their partner satisfy the eligibility requirements) they may wish to consider converting part of their Surrogacy leave and Pay to Shared Parental Leave and Pay.
  • (For academic staff) whether they are aware of the Elsie Widdowson Fellowship.
 3. Providing formal notice of an intention to take Surrogacy Leave

Your member of staff will need to:

  • Send an e-mail or letter to you and their HR contact confirming when the baby who is the subject of the surrogate agreement is due to be born; and the date they intend to start their Surrogacy Leave.
  • They must provide this notice at least 28 days before they intend to start their leave.  They will also need to provide a copy of the MAT B1 Certificate issued to the surrogate mother*

*Where the baby is the subject of a Parental Order following surrogacy, in addition to a copy of the MATB1 certificated, a copy of the Parental Order must also be provided within six months of the baby’s birth

4. Your HR contact will:
  • Provide written confirmation of entitlement and advise Pay Office, Pensions and Research Contracts (if applicable).
  • Be available to provide policy advice and support to you and your staff member if you have any questions about their Surrogacy Leave entitlements.
5. During Surrogacy Leave:
  • Before your staff member starts Surrogacy 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 Surrogacy Leave.  For further details see the Keeping in Touch and Shared Parental Leave in Touch days – Guidance for Managers.
6. At the end of Surrogacy 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’ Surrogacy 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 Surrogacy 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 surrogacy pay if they do not return to work and continue in employment for at least three months following the end of their Surrogacy Leave (where applicable).
  • If your member of staff requests to return to work on a part-time or flexible basis, you should consider this positively, accommodating their request where possible.  The Flexible Working policy provides further information.  Your HR representative will also be available to provide advice and guidance on considering such requests.