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Durham University

Human Resources & Organisational Development

Paternity Leave when adopting

Paternity leave when adopting is granted in accordance with the regulations on paternity and adoption leave and pay under the Employment Act 2002 and subsequent amendments.

Where a couple adopt a child jointly, adoption leave and pay is available to only one member of a couple, the other parent has the right to take paternity leave.

Where an individual adopts they will be the parent eligible for adoption leave. The other member of an adopting couple, or the partner of a single adopter, will be able to take paternity leave, if eligible.

For adoptive parents, paternity leave must be taken within 56 days of the date of placement or the child’s arrival in the UK (overseas adoptions). The earliest date on which the leave can begin will be the date of placement for adoption. It can also begin on:

  • an agreed number of days after the date of placement
  • on the date the child arrives in the UK or an agreed number of days after this (overseas adoptions only)

There are a number of criteria to determine eligibility for adoptive paternity leave:

  • To qualify for statutory paternity leave when adopting, you must be the partner of someone adopting a child on their own, or be adopting a child with your partner.
  • You must be able to declare that you are married to the person adopting the child, or living with the person adopting the child in an enduring family relationship, but are not an immediate family relative.
  • You must also be able to declare that you will be responsible for the child’s upbringing, that you will take time off to support the person adopting the child or to care for the child, and that you have chosen not to receive Statutory Adoption Pay.

You must have been continuously employed for 26 weeks by the ‘matching week’. For adoption this is either:

  • the end of the week you’re matched with the child (UK adoptions)
  • the date the child enters the UK or when you want your pay to start (overseas adoptions)

Adoptive paternity leave and pay is only available where a child is newly matched for adoption, it would not, for example, be available when a step-parent is adopting a partner’s children.