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This blog post was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

New Leave and Pay Rights for Adopters and parents who have a child through surrogacy

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Shared Parental Leave
Debbi Jackson
Debbi Jackson

Adoption leave and pay is changing and the changes are great news for those planning to adopt or expecting a child through surrogacy. As someone who considered adopting (but admittedly didn’t get much further than the thinking stage) I am delighted that adopters and their partners will enjoy similar rights to birth parents.

From 5 April, 52 weeks of adoption leave will become a “day one” right for employees and statutory adoption pay will be paid at 90% of the adopter’s salary for 6 weeks, and then the lower of 90% of salary or the flat rate of £139.58 for a further 33 weeks – mirroring the arrangements for maternity leave and pay.Two new groups of parents will also potentially qualify for adoption leave and pay and paternity leave and pay: those who foster a child with a view to adopting the child they foster; and ‘Parental Order parents’ (couples who have a child with the help of a surrogate and who qualify for and intend to apply for a Parental Order for the child).

Where a couple adopt or are eligible for a Parental Order and both potentially qualify for adoption leave and/or pay, they decide which one of them will claim these rights. The other parent may be eligible for paternity leave and/or pay - this is available for up to 2 weeks following the placement of a child or children with their new family.

Eligible adopters and Parental Order parents may also be able to take up to 50 weeks of shared parental leave and up to 37 weeks of statutory shared parental pay. These new rights are available to working parents who share responsibility for caring for their child. The parent who qualifies for adoption leave and/or pay will need to end this early to opt into the new system. Shared parental leave enables both parents to be at home with their child at the same time if they wish, or they can stagger their leave so that one of them is always at home in the first year.

Adopters will also qualify for time off for adoption appointments where they are matched with a child that will join the family on or after 5 April. Single adopters will be able to take paid leave to attend up to 5 adoption appointments. Where a couple are adopting one of the parents/prospective parents will be able to take paid leave to attend up to 5 adoption appointments and the other will be able to take unpaid leave to attend up to 2 adoption appointments.

Parental Order parents can already take unpaid leave to accompany the surrogate mother to up to 2 of her ante-natal appointments, if she consents to them doing so.

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