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Purpose

· To comply with the relevant legal framework surrounding statutory adoption leave and pay.


Scope

· This policy applies to all employees. It does not apply to contractors or agency workers.


Policy

· The organisation’s policy is to comply with both the letter and spirit of the law on adoption leave rights. To this end, its aim is to inform all employees of their entitlement to adoption leave and to ensure that those rights are understood by employees who qualify.

· The organisation has overall responsibility for the effective operation of this policy and for ensuring compliance with the relevant statutory framework. Managers have a specific responsibility to ensure the fair application of this policy and all members of staff are responsible for supporting colleagues and ensuring its success.

· In some cases you and your spouse or partner may be eligible to opt into the shared parental leave ('SPL') scheme which gives you more flexibility to share leave and pay available in the first year after the child is placed with you. However, one of you must take at least two weeks' adoption leave first. Details of SPL are set out in our Shared Parental Leave Policy and Procedure.


Entitlement to Adoption Leave

· You qualify for adoption leave if:

o You are adopting a child through a UK or overseas adoption agency.

o The adoption agency has given you written notice that it has matched you with a child for adoption ('Matching Certificate') and tells you the date the child is expected to be placed into your care with a view to adoption ('Expected Placement Date').

o You have notified the adoption agency that you agree to the child being placed with you on the Expected Placement Date.

o Your spouse or partner will not be taking adoption leave with their employer (although they may be permitted to paternity leave).

o You have complied with the notification requirements below.

· The maximum adoption leave entitlement is 52 weeks, consisting of 26 weeks' Ordinary Adoption Leave ('OAL') and 26 weeks' Additional Adoption Leave ('AAL').


Overseas Adoptions

· If you are adopting a child from overseas, the following will apply, in addition to the rest of this policy.

o You must have received notification that the adoption has been approved by the relevant UK authority ('Official Notification').

o You must give us notice in writing of:

§ Your intention to take adoption leave;

§ The date you received the Official Notification and;

§ The date the child is expected to arrive in Great Britain.

o This notice should be given as early as possible but in any event within 28 days of receiving the Official Notification (or, if you have less than 26 weeks' service with us at the date of the Official Notification, within 30 weeks of you starting employment).

o You must also give us at least 28 days written notice of your intended start date for adoption leave ('Intended Start Date'). This can be the date that the child first arrives in Great Britain or a predetermined date no more than 28 days after the child's arrival in Great Britain.

o You must also inform us of the date that the child arrives in Great Britain, within 28 days of that date.

o We may ask you for a copy of the Official Notification and evidence of the child having arrived in Great Britain.

· You must sign the form SCR6, (available on www.hmrc.gov.uk/forms), where you are adopting a child with your partner.


Notification

· You must give us notice, in writing, of your intention to take adoption leave within seven days of being notified of being matched with a child. You need to tell us how much leave you want, your Intended Start Date and Expected Placement Date.

· Because you only have seven days to give notice, it would be helpful if you notified Prime Recruitment Ltd that you are trying to adopt a child early in the adoption process.

· In some cases it will not be possible for you to give notice within seven days of being notified by the adoption agency of being matched with the child, in which case you must give notice as soon as reasonably practicable.

· Following receipt of your written notice, we will write to you within 28 days to inform you of the date you are expected to return from adoption leave ('Expected Return Date'). Where you have not stipulated how much leave you wish to take, we will assume that you wish to take your full, 52 week entitlement to adoption leave.

· Once received, you must provide us with a copy of the matching certificate issued by the adoption agency.


Starting Adoption Leave

· You can choose to start your adoption leave and your adoption pay period on a predetermined date no more than 14 days before the Expected Placement Date, or on the Expected Placement Date itself, but no later.

· You are entitled to change your Intended Start Date provided you give notice of the new date in writing. You should give us as much notice as you can, but wherever possible you must tell us at least 28 days before the original Intended Start Date. We will then write to you within 28 days to tell you your new Expected Return Date.

· Shortly before your adoption leave starts, we will discuss with you the arrangements for covering your work and the opportunities for you to remain in contact with the organisation, should you wish to do so, during your leave.


Statutory Adoption Pay

· You qualify for statutory adoption pay if:

o You have been continuously employed for at least 26 weeks ending with the week in which the agency notified you that you had been matched with the child ('Qualifying Week') and you are still employed by Prime Recruitment ltd in the Qualifying Week and;

o Your average weekly earnings in the eight weeks ending with the Qualifying Week ('Relevant Period') are not less than the lower earnings limit for the payment of national insurance contributions and;

o You have given us the relevant notifications set out above.

· Statutory adoption pay ('SAP') is paid for up to 39 weeks. It ceases to be payable if you return to work sooner, or if the adoption placement is disrupted (see below).

· SAP is calculated as follows:

o For the first six weeks, SAP is payable at the 'Earnings Related Rate' of 90% of your average earnings in the Relevant Period.

o For the remaining 33 weeks, SAP is payable at the prescribed rate set by the government for the current tax year, or the Earnings Related Rate, if lower.

· SAP accrues with each complete week of absence and paid on your next normal payday. Income tax, National Insurance and pension contributions will be deducted as appropriate.

· If you leave employment for any reason (for example, if you resign or you are made redundant) you may still be eligible for SAP if you have already been notified by an agency that you have been matched with a child. In such cases, SAP starts:

o 14 days before the Expected Placement Date or;

o The day after your employment ends, whichever is the later.


Disrupted Placement

· If you are notified that the placement will not go ahead after you have started your adoption leave; the child is returned to the adoption agency after the placement; or the child dies after the placement, your entitlement to adoption leave and SAP ends eight weeks after the end of the week in which the disruption occurred. You must notify us as soon as reasonably practicable if the placement is disrupted during your adoption leave.


Early Return

· If, during your adoption leave, you wish to change your Expected Return Date, you must give eight weeks’ written notice.


Paternity Leave and Shared Parental Leave

· Your partner may be entitled to paternity leave and pay. See the Paternity Leave Policy and Procedure to assess your partner's qualification for the entitlement, notification requirements, pay, and other conditions.

· In some cases you and your spouse or partner may be eligible to opt into the SPL scheme which gives you more flexibility to share the leave and pay available in the first year. Your partner should check with their employer if they are eligible.

· You would need to provide at least eight weeks' written notice of your intention to end your adoption leave and opt into SPL. Such notice can be given either before or after the child is placed with you, but you must take at least two week's adoption leave in the first instance.

· You would then be able to share any remaining leave with your partner. Please refer to the Shared Parental Leave Policy and Procedure for further information.


Terms and Conditions during Leave

· During OAL and AAL, your contract of employment continues in force. All terms and conditions continue with the exception of wages, salary and other remuneration. In particular:

o Benefits in kind shall continue;

o Holiday leave shall continue to accrue at the rate provided under your contract, and pension benefits shall continue during any period of paid adoption leave (where applicable).


Keeping in Touch Days

· We may make contact with you (and you with us) while you are on adoption leave, as long as the amount and type of contact is not unreasonable.

· During adoption leave you can do up to 10 days’ work under your contract of employment (including attending training), as long as we both agree for this to happen, and agree on what work is to be done and how much you will be paid for it.


Return to Work

· Once your Expected Return Date has been confirmed, we will expect you to return to work on that date unless you tell us otherwise. It will help us if, during your adoption leave, you are able to confirm that you will be returning to work as expected.

· If you wish to return to work earlier than your Expected Return Date, you must give us at least eight weeks' written notice. If you do not give us enough notice, we may postpone your return date until eight weeks after you give notice, or the Expected Return Date if sooner.

· If you wish to return to work later than the Expected Return Date, you should either:

o Provide eight weeks written notice of your intention to extend your adoption leave (provided that the extension would not take you beyond the maximum 52 week adoption leave period);

o Request unpaid parental leave, giving as much notice as possible, or;

o Request paid annual leave in accordance with our contract.

· If you are unable to return to work due to sickness or injury, this will be treated as sickness absence and our Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure will apply.

· If you only take OAL you are entitled to return to the same job that you held before commencing leave. If you take AAL, or OAL with a period of parental leave of more than four weeks, and it is not reasonably practicable for you to return to the same job, you will be offered an alternative position on no less favourable terms and conditions.

· If you do not intend to return to work, or are unsure, it is helpful for you to discuss this with us as soon as possible. If you decide not to return you should give us notice in accordance with your contract of employment. The amount of adoption leave left to run when you give notice must be at least equal to your contractual notice period, otherwise we may require you to return to work for the remainder of your notice period. Once you have given notice that you will not be returning to work, you cannot change your mind without our agreement. This does not affect your right to receive SAP.


Adopting more than one child

· If you adopt more than one child at the same time then you are only entitled to the same adoption leave as if you were adopting one child. The entitlement to adoption leave is not affected by there being more than one child placed for adoption as part of the same placement.


Circumstances where we do not have to pay you Statutory Adoption Pay

· You cannot receive SAP whilst you are in receipt of statutory sick pay.

· We are not liable to pay you SAP if, during any week that you are receiving it, you are taken into legal custody, or sentenced to imprisonment. However, if you are voluntarily helping the Police with their enquiries, out on bail or serving a suspended sentence, then you are entitled to continue receiving SAP from us.

· If you take paid work with another employer that you did not work for during the Qualifying Week, then we can stop paying you statutory adoption pay.


Key Lines of Enquiry Table


Key Line of Enquiry


C.W2 - How does the service demonstrate good management and leadership?

Primary

Supporting "yes"

Mandatory "yes"





Note: All QCS Policies are reviewed annually, more frequently, or as necessary.




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