It would be very easy, at the moment, to have so much focus on Shared Parental Leave that changes to your Adoption Leave Policy that need to be made by April could get ignored.
Firstly, since 1st October 2014, anyone adopting has had the right to take time off work for up to five pre-adoption appointments, each appointment lasting up to 6.5 hours and that absence being paid by their employer. This would cover, for example, attending meetings with the social worker or introductory meetings with the child. The primary Adopter’s partner will be entitled to take up to 2 unpaid appointments of up to 6.5 hours each.
From 1st April 2015 adoption pay will be changing so that the first 6 weeks will be paid at 90% salary i.e. matching the position for maternity as opposed to the current position where the employee receives only the statutory rate throughout all 39 weeks of Adoption Leave.
In addition, Adopters will be able to take adoption leave from Day 1 of their employment, whereas currently they have to accrue 26 weeks of service before the right kicks in. However, potential Adopters are likely to get confused – the rules on qualifying for Statutory Adoption Pay are not changing (other than the first 6 weeks at 90% referred to above). So in order to qualify for Adoption Pay the employee will still need 26 weeks’ service. If they take Adoption Leave when they have shorter service it will be unpaid. There is no equivalent to Maternity Allowance for such employees.
Of course, you will need to cross-refer from your Adoption Leave Policy to your Shared Parental Leave policy as well.
We can help with reviewing any such policies – do let us know by contacting Anna