Please see below the answers to some of the most common questions regarding Adoption/surrogacy leave. Further information is available in the Adoption/surrogacy policy or from Human Resources.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I entitled to adoption/surrogacy leave?

Adoption/surrogacy leave is available to one member of a couple who jointly adopt. The other member of the couple is entitled to paternity/maternity support leave. Both members of the couple may also be eligible for Shared Parental Adoption Leave if they meet the eligibility criteria.

To qualify you must

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

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.

When the baby is subject to a parental order following a legal surrogacy arrangement, the College will provide the surrogate parents with the same entitlements as those which apply to adoptive parents.

Will my leave be paid?

Entitlement to paid adoption/surrogacy leave is dependent on length of service at the point you are notified of being matched with a child.

As an adoptive parent you are entitled to up to 39 weeks’ Statutory Adoption Pay if you have worked at the College for more than 26 weeks and your earnings are at least equal to the lower earnings limit for NI contributions.

If you have 26 weeks’ service or more with the College, you are entitled to College adoption pay, which is 18 weeks’ at full pay (i.e. calculated before any salary sacrifice has been made), followed by 21 weeks’ at the Statutory Adoption Pay rate, followed by a maximum of 13 weeks’ unpaid leave.

What should I do first?

You should notify your line manager and the HR Staff Hub that you intend to take adoption leave within seven days of receiving notification that you have been matched with a child.

You should provide your manager with a Matching Certificate in the case of adoption or a copy of the MatB1 issued to the pregnant surrogate and Parental Order in the case of a Surrogacy Arrangement.

See the Adoption/surrogacy leave process for further details.

Can I attend appointments related to the adoption?

A member of staff who is the primary adopter is entitled to paid time off for up to five appointments related to the adoption. A secondary adopter is entitled to paid time off for up to two appointments related to the adoption.

Members of staff who are potential applicants for parental orders in relation to children born to surrogate individuals are entitled to paid to time off to accompany the pregnant individual to two antenatal appointments.

Adoption appointments many include having contact with the child prior to adoption, parenting classes or appointments for any purpose related to the adoption.

What happens with my annual leave entitlement?

You will continue to accrue annual leave and mandatory leave during your leave. You are encouraged to take a proportion of your annual leave before the start and after your leave.

If you leave crosses two leave years, you can carry over any untaken annual leave, but you must take it within 3 months of returning from leave.

What is Shared Parental Leave and am I eligible?

Shared Parental Leave (SPL) provides eligible parents with the opportunity to choose to share between them the care of their child during the first year following the child’s birth. Parents have the option of converting their maternity leave and pay in Shared Parental Leave and Pay and sharing the remaining period of leave and pay between them.

SPL is available to couples who jointly adopt and who meet the employment and earnings eligibility requirements for SPL. Leave must be taken within 52 weeks of the placement of the child for adoption.

You are eligible for SPL if you are the primary adopter or spouse, civil partner or partner of the primary adopter AND

  • You will share responsibility for the care of the child
  • You have completed 26 weeks’ continuous service with the College by the week that you are notified that you have been matched with your child
  • You are still employed with the College in the week before the leave is taken
  • You or your partner are entitled to Statutory Adoption Leave and Pay and have curtailed this entitlement.

Your partner must also satisfy the employment and earnings requirements as outlined in the Shared Parental Leave policy.

For further information about Shared Parental Leave, please see the Shared Parental leave policy.