Here at the Manx Co-operative we know that adopting a child is an important and exciting time and we want to support you. There are some important things that you need to know and do to help us make all the arrangements for your Adoption Leave and pay – so talk to your manager if you have any questions or concerns.

Crucial bits

Adoption Leave

If you’ve been matched with a child for adoption you can take up to 52 weeks of Adoption Leave – it doesn’t matter how long you’ve worked here or how many hours you work. The adoption must take place through an Isle of Man, UK or overseas adoption agency - private adoptions won’t qualify. You also can’t take Adoption Leave if your child’s not being newly matched with you, like adopting a stepchild.

Just so it’s clear, you can only take one period of Adoption Leave for each adoption placement, even if more than one child’s being placed with you.

If you’re adopting jointly with your partner, only one of you (the main adopter) will get Adoption Leave and the other (the co-adopter) may be able to take Paternity Leave – see our Paternity Policy for more details.

You can start your Adoption Leave on any day of the week either during the week that your child’s placed with you, or up to 14 days before the placement.

It’s really important that you follow the steps below for telling us about your adoption. If you don’t, you might not be able to start and/or end your Adoption Leave when you want.

  • Within seven days of being told by the adoption agency that a child’s going to be placed with you, you need to tell your manager that you’re adopting and want to take Adoption Leave. Let your manager know when you think the adoption placement will start and also when you’d like your Adoption Leave to begin. They’ll then call Trudi Sewell to let her know.
  • You’ll need to fill in an AL1 - application for adoption leave (AL1) form (found in the adoption leave process) and ask your manager to sign it and send it to Trudi Sewell with a copy of your Matching Certificate. If you’re adopting jointly with your partner we’ll ask you to confirm on the AL1 that your partner isn’t taking Adoption Leave for this placement, even if they work for a different employer.
  • You’ll then be sent an AL3 form which confirms your adoption pay entitlement (see below for more information about adoption pay) and also when your 52 weeks’ Adoption Leave entitlement will end. Of course, you don’t have to take the full 52 weeks of leave – if you want to come back to work before this, you can agree an earlier return date with your manager.
  • If you change your mind and want to come back on a different date to the one you agreed with your manager, you’ll need to write to them at least eight weeks before you’re due to return. If you want to come back earlier and don’t give us this notice, we might need to delay your return for up to eight weeks, but it won’t be past your original agreed return date.
  • If your Adoption Leave’s disrupted, for example if the child isn’t placed with you or the placement ends early, then you must tell your manager straight away and send them a letter to confirm this. You’ll still get Adoption Leave and pay for up to eight weeks after the disruption happens, although not if this is beyond the original end date of your Adoption Leave.

Adoption pay

Here at the Manx Co-operative we give Co-op Adoption Pay (CAP) of 12 weeks full pay if you meet the qualifying criteria and you’re employed by us at the point your CAP will start.

You may also be able to claim Adoption Allowance from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) – there’s information on the government website. If you do qualify for Adoption Allowance you’ll need to send us the letter you receive from the DHSC giving the amount, and then we’ll use your CAP to top you up to full pay for the first 12 weeks of your Adoption Leave.

To qualify for CAP you’ll need to;

  • have been working here for 26 weeks by the end of the week in which you’re notified that you’ve been matched with a child for adoption, and
  • be earning at least £118 a week on average*

The table below shows how much adoption pay you will get:

Adoption pay 1-12 weeks 13-39 weeks 40-52 weeks
CAP - Full pay, based on average contractual earnings (any Adoption Allowance you receive will be topped up to full pay) If you qualify for Adoption Allowance this is paid for up to 39 weeks. If you choose to take this amount of leave, these weeks will be unpaid

*Average earnings are based on what you’ve been paid during the eight weeks ending on the week that you’re told you’ve been matched with a child for adoption.

Just so you’re aware, if you leave the Manx Co-operative while you’re still getting CAP it will stop on the date you leave, unless you leave because of redundancy. You may still receive any Adoption Allowance payments that you’re entitled to.

CAP is a discretionary benefit and isn’t part of your terms and conditions. This means that the Co-op has the right to change or withdraw CAP at any time, but we won’t do this if you are already receiving it.

If you qualify for CAP you’ll still be paid in the normal way for the first 12 weeks of your Adoption Leave. If you don’t qualify, you may not have a payslip during your leave.

Things to think about

Pre-adoption appointments

We know that you’ll have adoption appointments to go to. As the main adopter you can take time off work to go to five adoption appointments – it doesn’t matter how long you’ve worked here or how many hours you work. Adoption appointments are those that have been made by an adoption agency or Local Authority relating to a child being placed for adoption, or for a Fostering for Adoption placement.

You can take up to 6.5 hours’ leave for each appointment, including travelling, waiting and attendance time, but we expect that most appointments won’t last more than half a day. It would be helpful if you could try to arrange these outside your normal working hours if you can. If not, then you’ll get paid time off to attend. Let your manager know as early as you can when your appointments are and try to arrange them at the start or end of the day if possible. They might ask to see your appointment card or email/text confirmation to confirm things.

If you’re the co-adopter, you can take unpaid time off work to go to two adoption appointments. Although this time off is unpaid, we’ll do our best to limit the effect wherever we can, like agreeing for you to make up the time where it’s possible, or agreeing for you to take holiday. See the Paternity Policy for more information.

Pensions

If you’re a member of our pension scheme then you’ll continue to be a member during your Adoption Leave. If you’re getting CAP your pension contributions will be based on the actual pay you receive each period. During any unpaid period of your Adoption Leave all pension contributions will stop. For more information contact the scheme administrators, Edgewater Associates, Isle of Man, 01624 654000 or enquiries@edgewater.co.im

Holidays

Your holiday entitlement will continue to accrue while you’re on Adoption Leave. If your bank holidays aren’t already included in your holiday entitlement, you’ll also get days in lieu of any bank holidays which fall during your Adoption Leave.

Talk to your manager before you start your Adoption Leave about taking your holidays either before or at the end of your leave and agree dates. If you return to work too close to the end of the holiday year to take all your holidays, speak to your manager about carrying forward any remaining days.

Keeping in touch

It’s good to stay in touch with your colleagues and your manager during your Adoption Leave. We’ll try to keep you updated about any important changes or other things you need to know whilst you’re away from work. Agree with your manager the best way of keeping in touch.

You can have up to 10 Keeping in Touch (KIT) days during your Adoption Leave, which let you work without losing your entitlement to Co-op Adoption Pay or Adoption Allowance. KIT days need to be agreed with your manager first and can be used for anything that would normally be part of your job, including training courses and announcements. You can take them at any point during your Adoption Leave, apart from the first two weeks of the placement. You don’t have to arrange any KIT days, and we’ll never insist that you work a KIT day.

On a KIT day you’ll get paid your full contractual rate of pay for the hours you work. If you’re getting Adoption Allowance your pay will be ‘topped up’ to your normal hourly rate. This means that payment for a KIT day won’t ever be more than a normal day’s pay. Just so you’re aware, even if you don’t work a full day, this will still count as one of your 10 KIT days.

Returning to work after Adoption Leave

Unless there’s a business reorganisation – in which case we’d consult with you about what this means for you – you’ll usually be able to come back to the same role and with the same terms and conditions of employment that you had before your Adoption Leave.

Your manager will get in touch with you before you’re due to come back to work to talk about the arrangements for your return. You might want to try and arrange a KIT day with your manager so you can come into work and discuss things with them.

Adopting from overseas

If you’re adopting a child from overseas, the criteria for getting Adoption Leave and pay are the same for adoptions from within the Isle of Man. But there are differences in how you need to tell us that you’re adopting and want to take leave.

Within 28 days of getting your Official Notification that the adoption’s been approved by the relevant authority, you should tell your manager the date of this notification and when your child’s expected to arrive in the Isle of Man. Then, within 28 days of your child arriving in the Isle of Man, you’ll need to let your manager know the actual date that they arrived.

You must give your manager at least 28 days’ notice of when you want your Adoption Leave to start and how much leave you want to take. You can start your Adoption Leave when your child arrives in the Isle of Man, or up to 28 days after.

If you need further support

The Adoption Leave Process contains a step-by-step guide to Adoption Leave so everyone’s clear about the steps that need to be followed when a colleague is adopting.

If you have any questions about Adoption Leave, please speak to your manager.

Adopting a child can mean big changes in your personal life and you may need extra support and guidance in adapting to these. Remember we have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) who can provide colleagues with support. You can contact the EAP on 0800 069 8854. It’s independent and totally confidential. And there’s no charge for Co-op colleagues.