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Statutory Adoption Pay

Statutory Adoption Pay –  (SAP) is your employee entitled to it?

SAP is paid to eligible adopters (male or female) who are taking time off work to care for their child

If an employee is adopting a child with their spouse, civil partner or partner (male or female) the couple has to choose who will apply for SAP and adoption leave. The other maybe eligible for Ordinary Parental Pay and leave Additional Parent Pay and leave

Foster carers do not usually qualify for SAP if they have applied to the courts directly for an adoption order but may qualify if they are matched to a child by an adoption agency

Eligible employee are entitled to 52 weeks adoption leave. The first 39 weeks are known as ‘Ordinary Adoption Leave’ and the remainder as ‘Additional Adoption Leave’

Where possible the employee should give the employer at least 28 days notice.  Employers should be reasonably flexible as there is often very little time between the matching date for a child and the child’s actual placement

The employee can start their leave at the earliest 14 days before the child is placed but no later than the placement date

Qualifying for Statutory Adoption  Pay

  • The employee has to have been employed continuously by the same employer for at least 26 weeks into the week that the adoption agency matched them with a child
  • The employee must have a contract
  • The employee must on average have earnings of at least the Lower Earnings Threshold
  • The employee must give the employer at least 28 days notice or as much notice as possible under the circumstances
  • Have proof from the adoption agency.  This should include the name and address of the agency, the employees name and address, the date the child is to be placed and the date the employee was matched with the child
  • Completed SC6 if the child is to be adopted from abroad

Rates for Statutory Adoption Pay

SAP is payable for 39 weeks

The first 6 weeks at 90% of the employee’s average weekly pay

From the 6th April 2019 the remaining 33 weeks are payable at a weekly rate of £148.68 or 90% of the employee’s average weekly pay, whichever is lower

Historical Statutory Rates

None qualifying Employees

If the employee does not qualify for SAP they may still take leave.  The employer must issue the employee with form SAP1 along with a copy of the evidence supplied to the employer.  The employee may be able to claim a benefit

Keeping in Touch (KIT)

An employee can do some work under their employment contract for the employer whilst on adoption leave.  The employee can work up to 10 days without losing or ending SAP.  KIT days can be used singly or in blocks it is up to the employer and the employee how to make use of KIT days.  Any amount of work or training no matter how short (even half an hour) will use up a KIT day

Returning to Work

If the employee wants to return to work before the full 52 weeks of adoption leave they must give the employer 8 weeks notice

Employees taking ‘Ordinary Adoption Leave’ have the right to return to their original job

Employees taking ‘Additional Adoption Leave ‘have the right to return their original job or a similar job if it is not possible to give them their old job.  Similar means the job offered has the same or better terms and conditions.  If the employee unreasonably refuses to take the similar job the employer can take this as their resignation


When on adoption leave an employee has the same rights as the rest of the work force including bonuses, pay increases and other benefits on offer

Employer Funding

Advance funding from HMRC is available to small employers who cannot afford statutory payments.  When possible statutory payments should be off set against PAYE payments due to HMRC

Employer Reclaims

Employers can recover the SAP paid to an Employee the reclaim amounts are;

  • 103% if the total Class 1 NICs for the previous tax year are £45,000 or lower
  • 92% if the total Class 1 NICs for the previous tax year are above £45,000

We calculate and reclaim any statutory payments made Free of Charge

Accurate records must be kept HMRC will want to see the evidence in case of an enquiry