A new package of support for people who want to adopt, which includes a new right for adoptive parents to take time off work to meet the child they are set to adopt before the child moves in with them, and improvements to statutory adoption leave and pay will become a legal right from April 2015.
Introduction of Paid Leave for Pre-Adoption Meetings
The purpose of the right for adopters to take leave from work to meet the child before the adoption placement begins is to ensure that the child’s transition to a new family is as smooth as possible. Primary adopters will be able to take paid leave for up to five appointments (each appointment may last up to 6.5 hours) while their adopting partner will be eligible to take unpaid leave for two appointments (in line with a new right for birth fathers to accompany their partner to ante-natal appointments.
Increases to Statutory Adoption Leave and Pay
The Government has also confirmed that it will bring statutory adoption leave and pay in line with statutory maternity leave and pay. It will remove the requirement for an employee to have 26 weeks’ continuous service to qualify for statutory adoption leave and make statutory adoption leave a “day-one right”. Further, the Government will increase the first six weeks of statutory adoption pay to 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings to mirror statutory maternity pay provisions.
Fostering to Adopt
Parents fostering a child under the ‘Fostering to Adopt’ scheme will be eligible for adoption leave, and shared parental leave, as will eligible surrogate parents.