If you adopt a child you may be eligible for adoption pay. Adoption pay is paid by your employer and is provided to help you take time off work so you can be with your child. You can receive adoption pay for up to 39 weeks.
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Adoption pay: an introduction
Statutory adoption pay is paid to you by your employer so you can take time off work when you adopt a child. Adoption pay can be paid to men and women, although if your partner is claiming adoption pay then you cannot.
How much is adoption pay?
Employers must pay employees on adoption leave a weekly rate equal to 90% of their average weekly earnings for the first six weeks. For the remaining 33 weeks you are paid whatever is the lower of the standard rate (visit the government pages for the current rate), or 90% of your average pre-tax weekly earnings.
You can receive adoption pay for 39 weeks if you are eligible.
How adoption pay is paid to you
You will receive statutory adoption pay in the same way that you receive your normal pay. Your employer will also deduct tax and national insurance from your adoption pay.
Are you eligible for adoption pay?
To qualify for adoption pay you must have:
- been in continuous employment for at least 26 weeks by the week you are matched with a child;
- average weekly earnings at or above £120 weekly before tax (2021-22 lower earnings limit, reviewed each year, visit the government pages for the current rate)
- given the right notice and proof of the adoption.
If you are claiming paternity pay, you cannot also claim adoption pay. Some agency employees may also be entitled to adoption pay, although not to adoption leave.
How to claim adoption pay
To claim adoption pay, you must give your employer a matching certificate or other evidence from the adoption agency stating the name and address of the approved adoption agency, the name and address of the person claiming adoption pay, the expected or actual placement date and the date on which you were informed by the adoption agency that the child was being placed with you.
You should usually provide your employer with that information at least 28 days before the date chosen as the beginning of the adoption pay period.
You should also tell your employer when you plan to take your adoption leave – within seven days of being matched with a child by the adoption agency.
You can choose when you start receiving your adoption pay. You can start getting adoption pay from when the child is matched with you, or up to 14 days before the expected placement date.
Can I claim adoption pay if I am adopting a child without using an adoption agency?
You should speak to your employer or your UNISON rep for advice, but strictly speaking your employer does not have to give you adoption pay if you adopt a stepchild or family member.
How long can I claim adoption pay for?
You can claim adoption pay for as long as 39 weeks.
How will I receive adoption pay?
Adoption pay is paid by your employer in the same way as your normal wages.
When can I start claiming adoption pay?
You can start claiming adoption pay either from the date the child is matched with you or up to 14 days before the expected placement date.