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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Statutory Adoption Leave: returning to work

You have employment rights and responsibilities when you return to work after Statutory Adoption Leave. Find out what these are and what to do if you have any problems or you are denied your rights.

Returning to work

When returning to work after Ordinary Adoption Leave (the first 26 weeks of your Statutory Adoption Leave), you have a right to the same job and the same terms and conditions as if you hadn’t been away.

This also applies when you come back after Additional Adoption Leave (the last 26 weeks of your Statutory Adoption Leave). However, if your employer shows it is not reasonably practical to return to your original job (eg because the job no longer exists) you do not have the same right. In that case, you must be offered alternative work with terms and conditions as if you hadn’t been away.

Giving notice of your return to work

Your employer will assume that you will take all 52 weeks of your Statutory Adoption Leave. If you take the full 52 weeks, you don’t need to give notice that you are coming back. However, it can be a good idea to do so.

If you wish to return earlier, for example, when your Statutory Adoption Pay ends or because your partner is taking Additional Paternity Leave, you must give at least eight weeks’ notice. If you don't, your employer can insist that you don’t return until the eight weeks have passed. You must tell your employer that you:

  • are returning to work early
  • want to change the date of your return

If you decide not to return to work at all, you must give your employer notice in the normal way.

Illness at the end of your Statutory Adoption Leave

If you can’t return to work at the end of your Statutory Adoption Leave because of illness, tell your employer in the normal way.

Flexible working

Parents of children aged 16 and under, or of disabled children aged 18 and under, are entitled to request a flexible working pattern. This can help you balance caring for your child and work. Your employer must consider your request and reply to you in writing.

Taking parental leave after Statutory Adoption Leave

If you need more time off to look after your child you may be able to take parental leave. You can take up to four weeks' parental leave at the end of your Statutory Adoption Leave without affecting your right to return.

If you take more than four weeks you will be able to return to the same job unless this is not reasonably practical. In this case you must be offered alternative work that is suitable to you and with terms and conditions as if you hadn’t been absent.

Parental leave doesn’t have to follow straight after Statutory Adoption Leave. You can take parental leave at a later time after you have returned to work.

Additional Paternity Leave

If you have jointly adopted a child, your spouse, partner or civil partner could have the right to up to 26 weeks' Additional Paternity Leave. This is in addition to the two weeks' Ordinary Paternity Leave they could be entitled to.

Additional Paternity Leave can be taken 20 weeks after the child is born. It must finish before the child's first birthday.

You must have returned to work before your co-adopter can take Additional Paternity Leave. If the father decides to take Additional Paternity Leave you will be asked for a signed declaration stating:

  • your name, address (including postcode) and National Insurance number
  • that you are entitled to Statutory Adoption Pay (or Statutory Adoption Leave if they are applying for unpaid Additional Paternity Leave only)
  • you have given notice of your intention to return to work and the date you intend to return to work
  • the start date of your Statutory Adoption Pay period (if they are applying for Additional Statutory Paternity Pay)
  • that they are the only person taking Additional Paternity Leave or pay in respect of the child
  • you consent to the employer processing the information given in the declaration
  • they have been matched with the child for adoption and are your spouse, partner or civil partner (including same-sex relationships)

What to do if you have problems

If you have a problem, talk to your employer first of all - it may be a simple misunderstanding. If this doesn't work, you may need to make a complaint using your employer’s grievance procedure.

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