Your adoption leave, pay and other rights

Planning your adoption leave

For UK adoptions, and placements where you foster a child permanently to become their legal parent (‘fostering to adopt’), you can start adoption leave either:

  • when you’ve been matched with a child
  • up to 14 days before the expected placement date

For overseas adoptions, you can start adoption leave either:

  • when the child arrives in the UK 
  • within 28 days of the child arriving in the UK 

To work out the dates for your adoption leave, you can use the adoption leave planner on GOV.UK

Holiday entitlement

You still build up (‘accrue’) your holiday entitlement as normal during adoption leave, even if this means carrying it forward into a new holiday year. 

This means you could return to work with a lot of holiday to take. So it’s a good idea to agree with your employer before you go on adoption leave how you’re going to take your holiday.

If your employer agrees, you can add holiday to the beginning or end of your adoption leave.

Changing the date you start your adoption leave 

If you want to delay starting your your adoption leave, you must tell your employer at least 28 days before the date it's currently due to start.

If you want to start your adoption leave earlier than planned, you must tell your employer at least 28 days before the date you want to change it to.

Working during adoption leave

You can choose to work for up to 10 days during your adoption leave without it affecting your leave or pay. These are called keeping in touch (KIT) days. 

You can use a KIT day to keep up to date with your workplace and to help you return to work. 

It’s up to you to agree with your employer:

  • if you want to work KIT days
  • how many KIT days you want
  • what type of work you’ll do on the days
  • how much you’ll get paid for the work

Half or part days worked still count as a full KIT day.

If you work more than 10 KIT days, your adoption leave and pay automatically end by law. 

If you adopt or foster to adopt 2 or more children 

If you adopt or foster to adopt 2 or more children on the same placement, you’re only entitled to one period of adoption leave.

If it’s a separate placement, you’re entitled to a second period of adoption leave. Your adoption leave restarts when the second placement begins.

If the child’s placement ends during adoption leave 

Your adoption leave will end 8 weeks after the placement ended if:

  • you’ve started your adoption leave and the agency tells you the placement cannot happen
  • the child dies during adoption leave
  • the child is returned to the adoption agency