Adoption policies

Jump to... Adoption leave | Return to work | Adoption pay


Adoption leave

A clergy member/licensed lay worker will be entitled to 26 weeks of ordinary adoption leave (OAL) followed immediately by 26 weeks of additional adoption leave (AAL). In total, any clergy/ licensed lay worker is entitled to 52 weeks of adoption leave regardless of their length of service.

To qualify for adoption leave the clergy/ licensed lay worker must:

  • be newly matched with a child for adoption by an adoption agency;
  • be the person with main care of the child; and
  • where a couple adopt jointly, one member of a couple (the couple must choose which partner takes adoption leave) is entitled to adoption leave. The other one may consider their rights under paternity leave and pay subject to the conditions expressed above.

If more than one child is adopted at the same time, only one period of adoption leave is taken.

The earliest a clergy member/licensed lay worker can begin adoption leave is 14 days before the expected date of placement. They can choose to begin their leave on the date on which the child is placed with them for adoption or a predetermined date no more than 14 days before the date on which the child is expected to be placed for adoption.

Notification requirements

A clergy member/licensed lay worker must notify the Bishop through the Payroll Officer, in writing, no more than seven days after the date in which he/ she has been notified as having been matched:

  • they intend to take adoption leave;
  • the date on which the child is expected to be placed for adoption with them; and
  • the date they intend to start their adoption leave.

The Bishop via the Payroll Officer reserves the right to request evidence of entitlement – a Matching Certificate from the adoption agency. The Certificate will provide details of the known address of the adoption agency; the date the clergy was notified of having been matched with a child and a date on which the child is expected to be placed for adoption.

The Payroll Officer will acknowledge, in writing and within 28 days of the clergy/ licensed lay worker’s notice and confirm:

  • the intended start date for their adoption leave;
  • that they are expected to return to work at the end of the adoption leave; 
  • the required date of return; the date on which a member of clergy should return to work will be the first working day after the end of the additional adoption leave period.

Clergy/licensed lay workers should make arrangements to cover the duties of their office during their absence with suitable other persons.


Return to work

In respect of both ordinary and additional adoption leave, no notice of return is required unless the individual wishes to return early. The date of return will be the date notified to them by the Archdeacon.

If the clergy member/licensed lay worker does not wish to return to work after adoption leave they must give the Bishop notice of termination as detailed in their Statement of Particulars.

When returning from ordinary adoption leave the individual has the right to return to work, as if they had not been absent (even where they also took a period of parental leave of four weeks or less immediately following the ordinary adoption leave period).

When returning from additional adoption leave (regardless of whether the individual also took a period of parental leave) he/ she has the right to return to work, as if they had not been absent. 

Early return to work

Clergy/ licensed lay worker must give eight weeks’ notice if they intend to return to work before the expiry of additional adoption leave.  Failure to give the correct notice entitles the Bishop to postpone their return until eight weeks’ have elapsed following receipt of the notice.


Adoption pay

includes Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP)

Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) is paid for up to 39 weeks at the same rate as Statutory Maternity Pay. There is no SAP payable for the final 13 weeks of additional adoption leave.

The diocese will also pay enhanced adoption pay for those clergy/licensed lay workers with more than one year’s service. Those who qualify will receive their full stipend for the 39 weeks of their adoption leave. For the avoidance of doubt, the enhanced adoption payment will include the clergy’s/licensed lay worker’s entitlement to SAP.  

In order to be eligible for the enhanced rate clergy/licensed lay workers must:

  • have been matched with a child to be placed with them by a UK adoption agency;
  • have notified the agency that they agree that the child should be placed with them and on a date of placement;
  • have served continuously for the diocese for a year into the week in which they are notified of having been matched with a child;
  • give the Bishop at least 28 days notice before the date they want it to begin; and
  • have average weekly earnings at or above the lower earning limit for National Insurance over the eight weeks ending with the date on which they are notified of the match;
  • have ceased work.

Either partner may receive Statutory Adoption Pay, but not both. The other partner may receive Statutory Paternity Pay subject to the conditions stated.

Where two or more children are being placed for adoption the entitlement to SAP remains the same as if there was one child.

Pension contributions

The period of Adoption Leave (both paid and unpaid) remains pensionable. This means that the diocese will continue to pay the pension contribution to the clergy member/licensed lay worker’s pension fund.

Under the present rules of the scheme, death in service payments can only be made during pensionable leave. 

Holiday entitlement

A clergy/licensed lay workers are entitled to accrue paid holiday leave during adoption leave, which shall accrue on a pro-rata basis.  

Keeping in Touch (KIT) days

If agreed by the Bishop, a clergy member may work up to ten days during adoption leave without losing statutory adoption pay and without bringing their leave to an end.

Page last updated: Tuesday 30th January 2024 9:25 AM
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