This week is National Adoption Week, which aims to raise awareness of the adoption process, and the importance of finding loving permanent families for vulnerable children.

Going through the complex process of adoption can be an emotional and challenging path, but for those who pursue it, it can lead to the ultimate end goal of starting a family.

Employees who adopt a child are usually entitled to similar statutory legal rights in terms of leave and pay to those taking maternity and paternity leave. 

Adoption leave is for the ‘main’ or ‘primary’ adopter and is the time they are entitled to take off work when they’ve matched with a child. It allows time and the opportunity to bond with and care for their new child. It’s the equivalent of maternity leave for an adopted child.

During this period, employees are entitled to take up to 52 weeks of statutory adoption leave and, if eligible, up to 39 weeks of statutory adoption pay.

The secondary adopter will be eligible to receive paternity leave and pay, or the couple could apply for shared parental leave.

As an employer, you are of course able to offer over and above statutory minimums to help support your employees going through this process. If you offer enhanced maternity pay, we would recommend this is matched for adoptive parents in your policy. We would suggest having an adoption policy included in your Company Handbook to ensure your employees are aware of the process and what they are entitled to.  

If you need any further support or have any questions surrounding adoption and how to manage this, of course do contact us on or call 0203 5385 311