If a colleague is going to be adopting a new child, or having a baby through surrogacy, they may be entitled to take Adoption Leave (see the Adoption and Surrogacy Policy for details).

Where colleagues are adopting/entering into a surrogacy arrangement jointly with their partner, only the Primary Adopter can take Adoption Leave. The Co-Adopter may be able to take Paternity/Non-Pregnant Parent/Co-Adopter Leave – see our Paternity/Non-pregnant Parent/Co-Adopter Policy for more details. It’s up to the couple to decide who will be the Primary Adopter and Co-Adopter. Also note the Primary Adopter and Co-Adopter may be able to share the care of their new child by using Shared Parental Leave (see the Shared parental leave policy.)

Here are the steps that need to be followed by the Primary Adopter, to take Adoption Leave.

1) Notification of adoption/surrogacy

Within seven days of being told by the adoption agency/Local Authority that a child’s going to be placed with them, or receiving notification of a fostering to adopt/concurrent planning placement, the colleague should tell their manager that they’re adopting and want to take Adoption Leave. They should also let their manager know when they think the adoption placement will start and when they’d like their Adoption Leave to begin.

Where entering into a surrogacy arrangement, the colleague must tell their manager no later than the 15th week before their baby is due that they intend to take Adoption Leave.

Either the colleague or their manager then need to call HR Services on 0330 606 1001 to inform them about the adoption/surrogacy. If the colleague works nightshifts, there’s an Adoption Notification Form which can be used to notify HR Services instead.

Once they’ve been notified, HR Services will write to the colleague to give them all the information they need to know about Adoption Leave and also an Application for Adoption Leave (AL1) form.

2) Pre-adoption appointments

The colleague should talk to their manager about any pre-adoption appointments they need to go to. The Primary Adopter can take time for five pre-adoption appointments and managers must agree time off for these if they fall within work time.

Colleagues having a baby using a surrogate and applying for a parental order, can take unpaid time off work to go to two antenatal appointments with the surrogate. See the Adoption and Surrogacy Policy for details.

Managers should talk to the colleague regularly to support them with their Adoption Leave. Adoption Informal Meeting Guide 1 can be used by managers to talk to the colleague about their Adoption Leave and things like pre-adoption appointments and holidays. can be used by managers to talk to the colleague about their Adoption Leave and things like pre-adoption appointments and holidays.

3) AL1 form and required documentation

Primary Adopter colleagues will need to fill in an AL1 form, provide the applicable document as below, and ask their manager to sign it the completed form:

  • a copy of their Matching Certificate (for standard adoption)
  • a copy of their Official Notification if adopting from overseas,
  • written notification of fostering to adopt/concurrent planning placement or adoption placement order (if adopting through fostering to adopt or concurrent planning), or
  • a copy of their Surrogacy Agreement

The manager or colleague should then send the completed form and appropriate document to HR Services.

4) AL3 form

HR Services will send the colleague a Confirmation of Adoption Entitlements (AL3) form, confirming their adoption pay entitlement and when their 52 weeks’ adoption leave entitlement will end (although they may agree with their manager to return on an earlier date), and also a form for the colleague to complete if they want to repay their pension contributions.

5) Holidays

Before going on Adoption Leave, the colleague should discuss and agree with their manager when they’ll take the holidays which they’ll accrue while on Adoption Leave. This is covered in the Adoption Informal Meeting Guide 1.

6) Keeping in touch

Before starting Adoption Leave, managers should agree with the colleague how they would like them to keep in touch while the colleague’s away from work.

The colleague can take up to 10 paid Keeping in Touch (KIT) days during their Adoption Leave. These need to be agreed in advance with their manager. There’s more information about KIT days in the Adoption and Surrogacy Policy.

Managers can use the KIT Day Record Form to record details of any KIT days that are requested and taken. And they should remember to notify HR Services to make sure the colleague gets their full contractual pay for any KIT day worked.

Managers can use the Adoption Informal Meeting Guide 2 to help discuss ways of keeping in touch, KIT days and returning to work with the colleague.

7) Returning to work

If the colleague decides they want to return to work on a different date than the date agreed with their manager, they need to tell their manager in writing at least eight weeks before the date they’re due to return.

It’s important that managers phone HR Services to confirm the colleague’s return date so the colleague is put back onto the time capture system and paid correctly. Managers should also inform HR Services whether they’ve authorised the colleague to carry forward their holidays into the next holiday year as this won’t happen automatically. There’s an End of Adoption Leave Notification Form available for managers of nightshift workers to use.

HR Services will send managers a copy of the Adoption Informal Meeting Guide 3 12 weeks before the colleague is due to return. Managers should contact the colleague to talk about their return to work and can use this guide to support the conversation. It’s good to arrange for the colleague to come into work for this meeting, perhaps during a KIT day.

HR Services will also send a letter to the colleague confirming the details of their return to work.

Managers may find it helpful to develop a Return to Work Plan for the colleague’s first few weeks back in work – there’s a template for this at the back of Adoption Informal Meeting Guide 3. This could include any refresher training needed, introducing them to any new team members and updating them on any changes within the business.

If relevant to the colleague’s job, managers also need to contact IT to make sure that the colleague’s access to IT systems is restored in time for their first day back.