Adoption pay

There are three main adoption benefits:

Occupational adoption pay

This is paid to employees who have 26 weeks continuous service at the date they are notified of being matched with a child for adoption and who qualify for statutory adoption pay. For the first 13 weeks of leave, an employee is entitled to receive full pay, and for the following 13 weeks they may receive half pay with statutory adoption pay in addition, where this is more than normal pay would be, then the normal pay is paid. The 13 weeks at half pay is optional and dependent on an intention to physically return to work for at least 3 months pro rata after the period of adoption leave. An intention to return requires that a contract of employment is in place, prior to the employee starting their adoption leave, which enables them to return to work for at least the 3 month pro rata period. Any time on annual leave or a career break, for example, doesn't count towards the 3 months pro rata of physically returning to work. If an employee elects to receive the enhanced pay and subsequently decides not to return to work, they will be asked to repay it. If an employee elects not to receive the enhanced pay during their leave, and then decides to return to work for at least 3 months, the whole of the payment will be made on completion of 3 months or pro rata for staff working part time on their return. Please see 50% pay completing 13 weeks pro-rata within the return to work section.

One week of occupational adoption pay is calculated by dividing the annual salary by 52.143. The Payroll section will provide individual adoption pay forecasts to enable employees to plan for their leave. To request an adoption pay forecast please complete the adoption pay forecast form and send it to Payroll.

Statutory adoption pay

This is generally paid to employees who qualify for occupational adoption pay, but is paid whether or not the employee intends to return to work. Higher rate SAP is calculated at 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings and is payable for the first six weeks of adoption leave. This payment is included in the 13 weeks full pay occupational adoption pay. Lower rate SAP is paid for a further 26 weeks, and is in addition to any occupational adoption pay that may be payable. To qualify for statutory adoption pay and occupational adoption pay for eight weeks prior to the end of the qualifying week, which is the end of the week in which the member of staff is notified as being matched with a child for adoption, the member of staff must have been earning on average not less than the lower earnings limit for national insurance purposes.

Statutory adoption pay is only payable whilst an employee is absent from work. If an employee returns to work at any time during the adoption pay period, they will lose their entitlement to statutory adoption pay for the whole week, even if they only work a few hours (with the exception of keeping in touch (KIT) days , please see the section headed keeping in touch days.

NB If you do not qualify for statutory adoption pay you will not qualify for occupational adoption pay.

Once entitlement to statutory adoption pay has been established, the University must pay the full 39 weeks of SAP, even if an employee resigns before or during their period of adoption leave.

There are several reasons why an employee may be excluded from receiving statutory adoption pay:

  • If they have not been employed for at least 26 weeks by the date they are notified of being matched with a child for adoption.
  • If their average earnings are lower than the National Insurance threshold
  • If they have not given the University at least 28 days notice of adoption leave
  • If they have not given the University a Matching Certificate see the section headed how the member of staff should tell the University they are adopting
  • If theu are not in the European Economic area at the beginning of the adoption pay period
  • If they are in legal custody

Employees who would like to take advantage of receiving statutory adoption pay must give the University the proper advance notification, this is identified in how the member of staff should tell the University of their adoption.

A qualifying member of staff may continue working right up until the expected week of placement and still retain their full 39 weeks entitlement to statutory adoption pay and ordinary adoption leave.

Any member of staff held in legal custody cannot receive statutory adoption pay. They may be able to receive some adoption allowance once they have been released. Statutory adoption pay will stop completely if the person starts work for a new employer after the placement during the statutory adoption pay period. NB It is the responsibility of the member of staff to inform the University if either of these two events occur.

Calculating earnings for statutory adoption pay

To calculate a member of staff’s average earnings two normal pay dates need to be identified, on or before the end of the qualifying week (the date the employee is notified of being matched with a child for adoption) and averaged. Where the higher rate of statutory adoption pay is higher than 90% salary the higher rate statutory adoption pay is paid.

Adoption allowance

This is paid directly by the Benefits Agency to qualifying people who are not entitled to statutory adoption pay for any of the reasons stated above. To enable an employee to claim adoption allowance, the University must complete a form SAP1, which they must submit to the Benefits Agency along with their Matching Certificate.

Staff who have worked and paid National Insurance contributions in 26 out of the 66 weeks ending the week before the expected week of placement are entitled to claim a maximum of 39 weeks adoption allowance if:

  • They are employed but do not qualify for SAP, or
  • They have recently been employed, or
  • They are self-employed.

A member of staff may continue to work right up until the date that the child is placed and still retain their full 39-week entitlement to adoption allowance. Adoption allowance is only payable whilst a person is absent from work.

 

updated Jan 2013