Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer
Search the Staffnet siteSearch StaffNet
Search type

Adoption leave


 These pages provides a brief overview but please read the policy and related documents for full details.

If you are adopting as a couple, one of you will be able to take adoption leave (main adopter), the other will be able to take paternity leave (main adopter's partner). 

The policy will also apply to some surrogacy and foster to adopt arrangements.



As the main adopter, you will be able to take 52 weeks adoption leave. The start date is determined by when the placement begins, but you can decide how much leave you wish to take. If you are not taking the full 52 weeks leave, you will need to provide written notice of your return to work date.

If you are adopting a child within the UK, your leave can start either:

  • from the date of placement, or
  • no more than 14 days prior to the date of placement

If you are adopting a child from overseas, your leave can start either:

  • from the date the child enters the UK, or
  • no more than 28 days after the child has entered the UK

Informing your line manager and HR Services

Please inform your line manager as early as possible in the process of applying to adopt a child. We appreciate that this process can take a long time, but once you have been approved, the placement of a child can happen at any time. Therefore your line manager needs as long as possible to consider contingency plans to cover your role, possibly at very short notice.

HR Services have a specialist team who will help you to work out your dates and to check how much leave and pay you qualify for. Contact to make a personal appointment.

You must give your completed application form and matching certificate (provided by the adoption agency) to your line manager and HR Services:

  • within 7 days of being notified of a match, for adoptions within the UK,
  • within 28 days of receiving official notification and at least 28 days prior to adoption leave starting, for adoptions from overseas.

A checklist is provided (within the pack of forms) which sets out all the necessary steps you need to take before - during - and after your adoption leave. Please use this with your line manager to help you plan.

Pre-adoption appointments

You will be able to take paid leave to attend up to 5 pre-adoption appointments at the request of the approved adoption agency, for example to have contact with the child or to attend meetings.

You will need to show proof of your appointments to your line manager. Please try to arrange apointments so as to cause least disruption to your work.

Annual leave

Annual leave accrued prior to the start of your adoption leave period must be taken within the current leave year, ideally before you start your adoption leave.

During your adoption leave you will continue to accrue annual leave, including bank holidays and closure days, in the normal way. This should also be taken in the current leave year, i.e. at the end of your adoption leave. If this is not possible because your adoption leave runs over into the next leave year, you will be able to carry over any annual leave it has not been possible to take.

Keeping in touch during your leave

Before you go on adoption leave, please discuss with your line manager, how much contact you would like to have. You will obviously need to keep your manager informed of your return to work date and your manager will keep you informed of any significant changes in the workplace that may affect you. 

During your adoption leave you also have the option to work for up to 10 Keeping in Touch (KIT) days. This enables you to keep up to date with developments at work, and may include working, attending training or a meeting.

KIT days are optional, if you are interested in doing this, please discuss and agree these in advance with your line manager.

Shared parental leave

You now have the option if you wish to, to end your adoption leave early and to share your remaining leave and pay entitlement with your partner.

As a couple you can decide how you would like to split this remaining leave, - you may decide to be off work at the same time or take it in turns to have periods of leave to look after your child. Details are contained in the Shared Parental Leave Policy.    


The pack of forms include:

  • Adoption Leave Application Form
  • Pre-adoption Leave Checklist
  • Return to Work Checklist
  • KIT days record