When will an employee who is adopting a child be eligible for shared parental leave?

If a couple that is adopting a child meets the eligibility requirements, the main adopter, ie the person who will be able to take adoption leave, can curtail his or her adoption leave and share the untaken leave with his or her partner as shared parental leave.

To be able to access the shared parental leave system, the main adopter and his or her partner must both:

  • have been employed or self-employed during at least 26 of the 66 weeks before the week in which they were notified of being matched for adoption with the child (or in which the child entered Great Britain if the child is being adopted from abroad);
  • have average weekly earnings of at least £30 for any 13 of those 66 weeks; and
  • have the main responsibility for the child at the date of the placement for adoption (or on which the child enters Great Britain), apart from the responsibility of the other partner.

The main adopter will qualify to take shared parental leave if he or she:

  • has at least 26 weeks' continuous employment by the end of the week in which he or she was notified of having been matched for adoption with the child (or received official notification in relation to an adoption from overseas) and remains in continuous employment with that employer until the week before any period of shared parental leave that he or she takes;
  • is entitled to statutory adoption leave in respect of the child;
  • has curtailed his or her statutory adoption leave, or returned to work before the end of the statutory adoption leave period; and
  • has complied with the relevant notice and evidence requirements.

The main adopter's partner will qualify to take shared parental leave if he or she:

  • has at least 26 weeks' continuous employment by the end of the week in which the adopter was notified of having been matched for adoption with the child (or received official notification in relation to an adoption from overseas) and remains in continuous employment with that employer until the week before any period of shared parental leave that he or she takes; and
  • has complied with the relevant notice and evidence requirements.

In addition, for the partner to be eligible, the main adopter must:

  • be entitled to statutory adoption leave or statutory adoption pay in respect of the child; and
    • have curtailed any entitlement to statutory adoption leave or returned to work before the end of the statutory adoption leave, or
    • have curtailed the adoption pay period (where he or she is entitled to statutory adoption pay but not statutory adoption leave).