Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP)
Who qualifies for Statutory Adoption Pay?
To be eligible to receive Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) an employee must:
- be newly matched with a child by an adoption agency
- have been working for the same employer for 26 weeks or more prior to being matched with a child.
- earn an average of at least the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) per week. Please refer to the Rates and Thresholds page for the current LEL rate.
In order to take Statutory Adoption Leave and receive SAP the employee must provide documentary proof of the adoption taking place. This usually takes the form of a matching certificate from the adoption agency.
The employee must also tell their employer that they wish to take Statutory Adoption Leave within 7 days of hearing that they've been matched with a child. At the same time the employer should also be told:
- when the employee expects the child to be placed with them, and
- when the employee wants their leave to start.
Please note, the above notice applies to UK adoptions. Different rules apply to employees adopting from overseas - please refer to the Directgov website for more information.
When can Statutory Adoption Leave begin?
Statutory adoption leave can be taken for up to 52 weeks. An employee can start their adoption leave from either:
- the date the child starts living with them or,
- up to 14 days before they expect the child to start living with them.
How much is SAP?
Statutory Adoption Pay is paid for up to 39 weeks at either the current SAP rate or 90% of the employee's average gross weekly earnings, whichever is lower. The employee can take a further 13 weeks of unpaid leave before returning to work.
If the employee has more than one job, they may be eligible to receive SAP from each employer.
'Keeping in touch' days
The employee may work for up to 10 days during their leave without losing entitlement to SAP or bringing their adoption leave to an end. This enables both the employee and employer to keep in touch during leave if they wish to. The days can be used for any work related activity or training and must be by agreement; neither the employer nor the employee can insist on it.. Employers now can also make reasonable contact during adoption leave, for example, to discuss the employee’s return to work.
Transferring Adoption Leave
An employee whose adoption has taken place after 3rd April 2011 has the option of transferring up to 26 weeks of their statutory leave to their spouse, partner, civil- or cohabiting partner. This can only normally take place between 20 weeks after the child starts living with them and before the first anniversary of the child being placed them and once the primary carer of the child has returned to work and is no longer receiving SAP. For more information, please refer to the Statutory Paternity Pay page.