Adoption Leave is for staff members who have been newly matched with a child for adoption by an approved adoption agency. It is a day one right, but their contract must cover the entire period of adoptive leave.
Only one member of a couple who adopt jointly is entitled to adoption leave. The couple may choose which partner takes adoption leave. The partner of an individual who adopts, or the other member of a couple who are adopting jointly, may be entitled to paid paternity leave.
Eligible staff members are entitled to up to 52 weeks continuous leave, same as maternity leave. The first 26-week period is Ordinary Adoption leave (OAL) and the remaining 26 weeks is Additional Adoption Leave (AAL). Only one period of adoption leave is available irrespective of whether more than one child is placed for adoption as part of the same arrangement.
Queen’s offers enhanced adoption pay that goes beyond statutory adoption pay.
Weeks 1-18 are full pay, weeks 19-39, lower rate Statutory Adoption Pay and weeks 40-52 unpaid.
A member of staff must inform the University, no later than 7 days of being notified by the adoption agency, that he/she has been matched with a child for adoption (unless this is not reasonably practicable).
A prospective adoptive parent can have reasonable time off to attend pre-adoption interviews. They must notify their department in advance of such interviews.
OAL will normally commence on the date of the child’s placement or a fixed date up to 14 days before the expected date of placement. AAL commences immediately after OAL.
A member of staff may change their mind about when they want to start their OAL by giving at least 28 days’ notice to HR/Head of School (unless this is not reasonably practical to do so).
Staff accrue annual leave. If they are unable to take it in one particular leave year due to Adoption Leave, they can carry over the full complement of leave (42 days) to the next leave year, and schedule it in agreement with their Head of School/Department.
Pensionable service will continue to accrue as normal as long as the member of staff is receiving salary or Statutory Adoption Pay. As week 40 of adoptive leave onwards is unpaid they will not normally be able to make pension contributions for this period. Employees can have up to 10 days without loss of SAP and without triggering return to work.
If the child’s placement ends during the adoption leave period, the member of staff will be able to continue adoption leave for up to eight weeks after the end of the placement.
A member of staff can alter their original return date, at least 8 weeks written notice must be given to the University of the amended return to work date.