Informing the University of adoption

When the member of staff should tell the University that they have been approved to adopt

You should inform your line manager and the HR Department, in writing using the notice of approval form, stating that you have been approved as an adoptee as soon as you have been officially informed, even though you may not have been matched to a child for adoption at this point.

When the member of staff should tell the University of their adoption

The University wishes to support staff who are adopting a child with regard to welfare needs, for example. Staff are encouraged to tell their line manager, as indicated in how the member of staff should tell the University they are adopting, at the earliest possible time that they feel able to share this information, however below are the guidelines for the absolute minimum notice that can be given.

Staff are able to come and speak to an HR representative in confidence without their line manager’s knowledge.

Within 7 days of being matched for adoption a member of staff must inform the University of this, the date the child is expected to be placed and the date they would like to start adoption leave by completing the leave and pay form.

A member of staff must give the University a minimum of 28 days notice of the start date of the adoption leave, or if this is not possible due to the placement date not allowing 28 days, as soon as is reasonably practicable. Notice should be given using the leave and pay form. Adoption leave may commence no earlier than 14 days before the expected date of placement.

How the member of staff should tell the University they are adopting

The member of staff must notify the HR Department using the leave and pay form and provide their line manager with a copy of the form. If any of the information required on the form has not been conveyed to the University, the member of staff can be asked to supply the relevant information.

The expected date of adoption must be confirmed by the Matching Certificate from the member of staff’s adoption agency once it is issued. The University is not allowed to pay statutory adoption pay until the certificate has been received and signed by the adoption agency with the expected date of adoption. If a member of staff has more than one employer they must request more than one Matching Certificate because a photocopied Matching Certificate is not acceptable to the DSS.

The Matching Certificate must be signed by the adoption agency and stamped with their address in the appropriate box. If the Matching Certificate does not contain these details it must be returned to the employee who must have the form completed correctly by the adoption agency. If the form is accepted and has not been completed correctly or is a photocopy, the University will be responsible for any TAX or NI which is lost by the Government. The University will also need to reimburse the statutory adoption pay, plus interest and penalties for accepting the invalid Matching Certificate.

It is set out in legislation that staff who fail to give the required notification within the specified time limits may lose their rights to adoption leave and statutory adoption pay. The time limits are only extended in exceptional circumstances where it was not reasonably practicable for the notification in question to have been given any earlier. If the University refuses to pay statutory adoption pay in these circumstances, the member of staff must be given a written statement to that affect and may apply to an Adjudication Officer for a formal decision through the Benefits Agency. It is the University’s decision whether to pay statutory adoption pay or not, the Inland Revenue will advise on this. If the University pay statutory adoption pay where there is no entitlement, the Inland Revenue may challenge the University’s right to recover the payments.

Adoption meetings

As soon as a member of staff has been approved for future adoption and has informed the University in writing using the notice of approval form, it is encouraged that an adoption meeting is held between the member of staff, their line manager and a representative from the HR Department which the line manager is responsible for organising. If the member of staff does not want to be part of this meeting, a representative from the HR Department will still meet with the line manager so that the line manager has a full understanding of the adoption policy and their responsibilities. This meeting will not be held until the member of staff is happy for their line manager to know about their adoption. The meeting, using the adoption guidance document as a guide, will discuss the following, although other topic areas may also be included:

  • the adoption policy
  • Brookes Nursery
  • Brookes childcare vouchers
  • annual leave
  • adoption leave
  • adoption pay
  • returning to work after the adoption
  • part time working
  • parental leave
  • contact during adoption leave – see the section contact on leave
  • viewing current Brookes vacancies through the Internet

The meeting should aim to ensure the member of staff has a clear understanding of their entitlements and responsibilities.

When the member of staff returns from adoption leave a return to work interview should be held, see return to work interview for more information.

Contact on leave

Some members of staff like to have absolutely minimal contact during their adoption leave, whilst other members of staff like to have lots of contact. The adoption meeting should also establish the amount of contact the member of staff would like. As a minimum the member of staff’s line manager must contact the member of staff at least once a month by telephone but preferably twice a month. Staff are able to view current Brookes job vacancies and current events in the University through the Internet. Staff who do not have access to the Internet to view job vacancies and require a list of current vacancies to be sent to them whilst on adoption leave must request this from their link HR team. A member of staff also has a responsibility to maintain contact with their team during their time off should they wish a high level of contact.

Line manager responsibilities

When a line manager is informed that a member of staff is adopting a child, they must contact the HR Department to arrange an adoption meeting, if one has not already been arranged by the member of staff.