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Adoption scheme

Information on the adoption scheme


AAL    – Additional Maternity Leave, i.e. covers weeks 27 - 52 weeks of maternity leave

SAP    – Statutory Adoption Pay, i.e. paid from weeks of 1 – 39 of adoption leave

OAL    – Ordinary adoption leave, i.e. covers weeks 1 - 26 of adoption leave

AAL    – Additional adoption leave, i.e. covers weeks 27 – 52 of adoption leave


The following scheme contains provisions which are applicable to the main adoptive parent, of a child who is under the age of 18, matched for or placed for adoption. The Adoption Scheme is in line with statutory provisions and the provisions of the Council’s Maternity Scheme. 

The Council is keen to support employees who adopt children and will apply the following arrangements:-

Where partners are adopting jointly, they may choose who is to be the ‘main’ adoptive parent. The main adoptive parent can take the entitlement to adoption leave and adoption pay and the other parent may take ‘Adoption Support Leave’ (also known as Paternity Leave). In both cases a man or woman can apply. Adoption leave/pay and adoption support leave/pay cannot be taken by the same person under the same arrangement nor can partners of different employers both apply for the same entitlement (i.e. a husband and wife or civil partners who work for two different organisations cannot both apply for adoption leave/pay with each employer). Please also see section below on the Maternity/Adoption Support Scheme.

Only one period of adoption leave and pay can be taken in the case of a multiple adoption (i.e. where more than one child is adopted as part of the same arrangement).

The Adoption Scheme is only available to those who have been notified of being newly matched with a child. It does not apply where existing ‘step-children’ or fostered children are formally adopted.

An adoptive parent who asserts their statutory right to adoption leave has certain rights under the law. These rights are as follows:

  1. The right not to be dismissed or discriminated against for any reason connected with requesting or taking adoption leave.
  2. The right to receive statutory adoption pay.
  3. The right to take statutory adoption leave and return to work.

These rights are available to all employees, regardless of whether they work full or part-time or are ‘permanent’ or ‘temporary’.


This scheme applies to all Torbay Council employees, excluding Teaching and Support Staff within Torbay Schools, where a separate policy applies.

Notification requirements

No later than 7 days after being notified of matching, the adoptive parent will be required to formally notify their line manager of the following:

  • That they are adopting.
  • The expected date of placement.
  • The name and date of birth of the child.
  • The date when they intend to start their adoption leave and begin receiving adoption pay if they qualify for it.

In the case of adoption of a child from overseas, the adoptive parent must, within 28 days of receipt of the official notification, formally notify their line manager of all of the above information, together with the following:

  • The date on which the official notification was received; and
  • The date on which the child is expected to enter the UK.

Torbay Council request this information is provided in writing and that the original copy is forwarded to Payroll.

The adoptive parent must also provide their line manager and Human Resources department the actual date of placement once this is confirmed.

In the case where it is not reasonably practical for the employee to provide notification within 7 days of being informed of matching, notice should be provided as soon as reasonably practicable. In exceptional circumstances, the adoptive parent will not be expected to provide the information in writing if they are not able to do so, but they should provide documentary evidence where required. 

An adoptive parent may change the start date of the adoption leave providing they provide notification at least 28 days in advance of the start of their leave (unless this is not reasonably practicable).

Documentary evidence in the form of a ‘Matching Certificate’, provided by the adoption agency when the adoptive parent is matched with a child, is also required and should be forwarded to Human Resources. The matching certificate should be provided at least 28 days before the date the adoption leave and pay is due to start, unless there is good reason for a delay. 

The documentary evidence should include:

  • The name and address of the agency.
  • The name and address of the adopter.
  • The date on which the adopter was notified that they had been matched with the child.
  • The date on which the agency expects to place the child with the adopter, and if the placement has already occurred, the date of the placement

Payroll will send an acknowledgement letter responding to an adoptive parent’s notification of their maternity leave plans, giving an indication of entitlement to adoption pay and the return to work date. The ‘Confirmation of Adoption Pay’ letter will then be sent out to the employee approximately 4 weeks before the start date of their adoption leave giving a full breakdown of adoption pay and benefits (if entitled).

Adoption Leave

Adoption leave may start on any day of the week either from: a) the date of the child’s placement; or b) from a fixed date which can be up to 14 days before the expected date of placement.  The latest adoption leave can start is the actual date of the child’s placement.

In the case of overseas adoption, the period of adoption leave may begin on the date on which the child enters the UK or on a pre-determined date that is no later than 28 days after the date on which the child entered the UK. 

Adoptive parents qualify for adoption leave from day one of their employment, there is no qualifying service required. An employee can qualify for 26 weeks ordinary adoption leave and 26 weeks additional adoption leave, 52 weeks leave in total. 

The adoptive parent may choose to take less than the full entitlement provided.

There is the option of the main adoptive parent ‘sharing’ their statutory adoption leave and pay with their partner.  Further details on Shared Parental Leave are contained on page 6 of this document and in the Paternity (Maternity/Adoption) Support Leave Scheme.

Adoption Pay

The Adoption Pay Period lasts 39 weeks. 

Adoption leave and pay can begin on any day of the week.  If the last day of work is Monday and adoption leave starts on a Tuesday, adoption pay will start from the Tuesday and the ‘adoption pay weeks’ will run from Tuesdays to Mondays. 

Where a pay rise is awarded between the start of the 8 weeks and end of the adoption leave period, pay will be reviewed and recalculated to reflect the new rate of pay.

The adoptive parent is entitled to adoption pay if he or she:-

  • Is the person with whom a child is, or is expected to be, placed for adoption under the law of the United Kingdom;
  • has ceased working for the Council in order to take adoption leave;
  • in the case of statutory adoption pay, has normal weekly earnings for the period of eight weeks ending with the week in which the adoptive parent is notified of being matched with the child which are not less that the lower earnings limit for the payment of NI contributions;
  • has notified the Council in writing.

Adoption pay will cease in any week following the week in which the adopted child reaches 18 years of age.

Type Qualifying service Duration/Amount
Statutory Employed by Torbay Council for at least 26 weeks ending with the week in which the adoptive parent is notified of having been matched with the child by the adoption agency.

Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP):*

6 weeks at 90% of salary (weeks 1 - 6).

33 weeks at the SAP rate per week (weeks 7 – 39).

*See Maternity, Adoption, Support (Paternity)Pay Guidelines for Pay Rates from 1st April.

Contractual 1 year’s Local Government service ending with the week in which the adoptive parent is notified of having been matched with the child by the adoption agency.

6 weeks (weeks 1 – 6) at 90% salary (offset against SAP payments).

Followed by:- 12 weeks Half Pay (from week 7).

The entitlement to Half Pay is fully recoverable if the employee does not return to work for the Council for three complete months (immediately following adoption leave, and any other leave that is taken following on from a period of adoption leave for instance, parental leave).


33 weeks (weeks 7- 39) of SAP weekly rate, if entitled. SAP is in addition to Contractual Adoption Pay (Half Pay) but Half Pay plus SAP cannot exceed full pay.

The amount of adoption pay received is based upon average earnings in the 8 weeks up to and including the ‘qualifying week’, which is the week in which the adoptive parent is notified of matching.

An adoptive parent who wishes to discuss a variation in the distribution of the 12 weeks Half Pay entitlement during the remaining 20 weeks should contact the Payroll Section, Human Resources.  Any variation must be mutually agreed between the adoptive parent and the Council. 

*Adoptive parents who are not entitled to SAP may be entitled to other benefits.  The Payroll Section confirms whether an adoptive parent qualifies for SAP.  Employees may also check with the Benefits Agency/Jobcentre Plus whether they would qualify for SAP or other benefits.

Sharing Adoption Leave and Pay

From 5 April 2015, eligible adoptive parents can share adoption leave and pay under Shared Parental Leave arrangements.  Shared parental leave enables adopters to commit to ending their adoption leave and pay at a future date, and to share the untaken balance of leave and pay as shared parental leave and pay with their partner, or to return to work early from adoption leave and opt in to shared parental leave and pay at a later date.

Employees can refer to the Council’s policy on Shared Parental Leave, where they will find full details of the eligibility requirements, as well as instructions as to how the adopter's adoption leave can be curtailed.

The Shared Parental Leave Policy is available from MyView, under ‘My Documents’.

Statutory Adoption Pay Rates

Statutory Maternity, Adoption and Paternity Pay rates are revised in accordance with HMRC rates annually. Further information on the current rates can be found on GOV.UK


Parents who will become the legal parents of a child under a surrogacy arrangement are entitled to take statutory adoption leave if the child’s week of birth begins on or after 5 April 2015. 

Employees in a surrogacy arrangement and who wish to take adoption leave should complete an Adoption Leave Plan on MyView.

Pre-placement meetings

From 5 April 2015, employees are entitled to paid time-off to attend up to five pre-placement appointments.

An employee adopting a child alone is entitled to take paid time off to attend up to five adoption appointments. Where an employee is part of a couple jointly adopting a child, the couple can elect for one of them to take paid time off to attend up to five adoption appointments. The other can elect to take unpaid time off to attend up to two adoption appointments.

The purpose of the appointment is to enable the employee and his/her partner to have contact with the child (for example, to bond with him/her before the placement) and for any other purpose connected with the adoption (for example, to meet with the professionals involved in the care of the child).

The appointment must have been arranged by or at the request of the adoption agency. The time off must be taken before the date of the child's placement for adoption with the employee.

The employee should provide their line manager with evidence of an appointment each time they request time off work.

Those who qualify for contractual adoption pay also qualify for the following:

  • Up to 5 days paid leave for visits etc. near to the date of placement and for subsequent attendance at court, provided reasonable notice is given and organisational requirements are not unduly disrupted.

Terms and Conditions during Adoption Leave

During the period of Ordinary and Additional Adoption Leave terms and conditions of employment, apart from receipt of normal pay, continue. This includes, for example, accrual of annual leave and any other contractual benefits that the employee may be receiving, such as payment of child-care vouchers.  The employer's duty of trust and confidence, and any terms which relate to notice of termination by the employer, redundancy pay, grievance and disciplinary procedures will also continue.  The employee's duty of good faith is maintained, as are any terms relating to notice on termination, disclosure of confidential information, the acceptance of gifts or other benefits, and involvement in any other business.

Pay awards and other improvements to benefits continue in the normal manner as if the adoptive parent was still at work.

It is common practice for adoptive parents to request a period of annual leave immediately prior to or after a period of adoption leave.  Any annual leave should be requested, and those requests dealt with, in accordance with usual Council procedures.

All contractual benefits continue to apply to employees in receipt of such benefits.

Pension Arrangements During Adoption Leave

If the employee is a member of the Local Government Pension Scheme, pension contributions will be paid and deducted from pay in the usual manner and at the same percentage rate during the period of paid adoption leave. 

Any periods of authorised unpaid adoption leave will not be treated as pensionable and will reduce the amount of pension earned during the year.  Employees can, however, choose to pay Additional Pension Contributions (APC) to buy the ‘lost’ pension.  Employees can elect to pay an APC within 30 days of returning to work and the Council will pay 2/3rds of the APC. 

If the employee elects to pay an APC after 30 days of returning to work, the Council will not be required to make a contribution and the employee will bear the full cost.  For employees who want to pay additional contributions to buy the ‘lost’ pension for this period, they should complete the LGPS Calculator below and return one copy of their completed application form to Peninsula Pensions and the other copy to:- Pensions, Torbay Council, Lower Ground Floor, Town Hall, Torquay, TQ1 3DR.  For any queries in completing the application form, please contact Pensions, Tel:  01803 207410.

LGPS contributions calculator

Delayed Placements

If the adoptive parent’s placement is delayed for whatever reason and they have already begun their adoption leave, they will not be able to stop their leave and start it again at a later date, unless it becomes a disruptive placement.

Disruptive Placements

If Ordinary Adoption Leave (OAL) has begun and is disrupted because: a) the adoption agency notifies the adoptive parent that the child will not be placed with him or her; or b) the child dies; or c) the placement ends, and in either case more than 8 weeks of OAL remain, the adoptive parent will be able to continue OAL for up to 8 weeks after the end of the week in which the disruption occurred.

If Additional Adoption Leave (AAL) has begun and is disrupted because: a) the placement ends; or b) the child dies, and in either case more than 8 weeks of AAL remain, the adoptive parent will be able to continue AAL for up to 8 weeks after the end of the week in which the disruption occurred.

Relevant notice of an early return must still be provided in line with the specified notice periods.

Return to Work

An adoptive parent who has taken adoption leave is entitled to return to the same job on terms and conditions of employment as if they had not been absent.   Where it is not practicable, for instance by reason of redundancy, for Torbay Council to permit the adoptive parent to return to work in their job, the adoptive parent shall be entitled to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy where one exists under a new contract that begins on the day immediately following the day on which the employee's previous contract came to an end. The work to be done under the new contract must be both suitable for the employee and appropriate for her to do in the circumstances. The provisions of the new contract relating to the capacity and place in which the employee is to be employed, and the other terms and conditions of employment, must not be substantially less favourable to the employee than if he or she had continued to be employed under his or her previous contract.

Consideration will be given to the full range of flexible working arrangements when requested by an adoptive parent returning to work after adoption leave, including a temporary reduction in hours.  Any adjustments should be discussed with the line manager as soon as reasonably practical and made in accordance with procedures. 

Consideration will be given to introducing the adoptive parent back to the workplace by providing any necessary training or updating.

Unless otherwise notified, it will be assumed that the adoptive parent will return to work at the end of their adoption leave as stated in the Adoption Leave Plan and Confirmation of Adoption Letter provided by Payroll. The adoptive parent is therefore expected back to work on the next working day after adoption leave finishes. 

Payroll will need to be informed by the employee’s line manager when the adoptive parent is due back to work in order to ensure that they are paid correctly and on time.  The form ‘Change to Employment Details’ should be used, or where the employee returns to a new job (i.e. with new post number), a ‘New Starter’s Form’ should be completed on MyView.

Where the adoptive parent is granted a period of annual leave or parental leave at the end of the adoption leave period, the adoptive parent will be regarded as ‘back to work’ following adoption leave and on annual or parental leave etc.  Normal procedures and entitlements apply when booking any other leave at the end of adoption leave.

Notification of Early Return to Work

An adoptive parent who wants to come back to work early will need to give the Council:-

  • 21 days' notice of the date they want to return to work following Ordinary Adoption Leave or
  • 21 days’ notice of the date they want to return to work following Additional Adoption Leave
  • (These are contractual notice periods which will prevail over the current statutory notice period which is 8 weeks).

If an adoptive parent wishes to change their early return to work date to an even earlier date, or to postpone their early return date to a later date, they will need to give the Council notice in accordance with the above time periods. 

If an adoptive parent returns to work before the end of the period in which they are entitled to receive any adoption pay (which currently lasts 39 weeks), they will not receive the full entitlement to adoption pay and will instead receive pay in accordance with their contractual hours.

If the adoptive parent does not give the required notice, Torbay Council reserves the right to postpone their return until the required notice has been given, or up until the day they would have been expected back.

Section E of the Adoption Leave Plan can be used for notification to return to work early.

If an adoptive parent is unable to return to work at the end of a period of adoption leave because of sickness, normal sickness absence procedures apply.

An adoptive parent who does not want to return to work following adoption leave should give the Council notice as per their terms and conditions of employment. Once resigned, the adoptive parent loses their statutory right to return to work after adoption leave and any contractual ‘Half Pay’ entitlement will be lost.  Annual leave will accrue up to the last day of service and not the last day worked.

Working during Adoption Leave

Where an employee is expecting to have a child placed with them, they will be able to work up to 10 days during their adoption leave without bringing their adoption leave to an end (‘work’ is defined as being any work done under contract of employment and may include training or any activity undertaken for the purpose of keeping in touch with the workplace).  This will also extend to their entitlement to receive SAP and provided that the employee works no more than 10 days during their adoption leave, they will not lose any SAP.  Any work carried out whilst on adoption leave will not have the effect of extending the period of adoption leave. 

Any days worked as a ‘Keeping in Touch Day’ will be paid at the employee’s normal full rate of contractual pay and will be paid in hours.  The payment will be off-set against any SAP payment that the employee may be receiving.  Working for part of a day will be recorded as one full Keeping in Touch day, e.g. if the employee works for 2 hours, this will be recorded as one Keeping in Touch day and will count against their 10 day allocation .  A ‘Keeping in Touch’ form will need to be completed by the employee’s manager and returned to Payroll. 

The Council cannot insist that the employee carries out any work and is protected from suffering a detriment or being dismissed for refusing to do so.  Equally, an employee cannot insist on being given any work to do.

Contact during Adoption Leave

It is reasonable to expect that the employee and their manager should remain in contact during the employee’s period of adoption leave.  This does not constitute ‘work’ and therefore does not form part of the 10 working days described above nor does such contact bring the adoption leave period to an end.  This contact time aims to keep the channels of communication open between the employee and their manager during the leave period and also ensures that the employee is kept informed of workplace issues. 

Typical issues that may be discussed are: significant changes/workplace developments, training opportunities, job vacancies, return to work arrangements and any other work issues which may affect the employee.  An employee’s informal visits to their office location/normal place of work may also constitute contact time.

Policy Feedback

Should you have any comments regarding this policy, please address them to the HR Policy Feedback mailbox –

This separate maternity policy was agreed on 9 December 2010 by Torbay JCC/Single Status Group.  Previous policy changes are recorded on the former ‘Maternity, Adoption, Paternity (Maternity Support Leave) Scheme’ held by Human Resources.

History of policy changes
Date Page Details of Change Agreed by:
9 December 2010 Various Separate out Maternity, Adoption and Paternity from former Maternity, Adoption and Paternity Scheme. TJCC/SSG 9.12.10
9 December 2010 8 New information relating to Additional Paternity Leave Legislation change – 9.12.10
9 December 2010 Various Information added re: overseas adoption. TJCC/SSG 9.12.10
14 March 2013 6 Amendment to statutory adoption pay calculation HMRC compliance
May 2014 8 Update regarding unpaid leave and pension payments Legislation change April 2014
April 2015 Various Update to adoption rights – pay + leave. Addition of Surrogacy, removal of Additional Paternity Leave and Pay. Addition of Shared Parental Leave and Pay. TJCC 12.3.15 – For information only - legislation changes April 2015
September 2018



Include wording to confirm recalculation of maternity pay following a pay rise.

Update to reflect MyView processes.

For information only – to reflect legislation and operational changes.
March 2022 6 Added new statutory pay rates link

This policy will be reviewed should operational or legislative changes require it.