Many employers will now have their procedures in place to deal with shared parental leave in a birth situation, and the more conscientious employers will know what to do for an employee adopting a child within the UK. But what about shared parental leave and overseas adoption?
There are important differences in the law on shared parental leave in the context of a UK adoption, versus an overseas adoption. These are set out below to equip you to deal with a request for shared parental leave from an employee who is adopting from overseas.
Policy on shared parental leave and overseas adoption
1. When does the right to shared parental leave apply to overseas adopters?
Shared parental leave is available to eligible employees adopting a child from overseas where the child enters Great Britain from 5 April 2015.
In contrast, with UK adoptions, the right applies where children are placed for adoption on or after this date.
2. Are the shared parental leave eligibility requirements the same for UK and overseas adoptions?
Employees’ eligibility requirements are similar, but not the same, for overseas adoptions.
For example, the employee adopting from overseas must have at least 26 weeks’ continuous employment by the end of the week in which he or she receives “official notification” of the adoption.
For UK adoptions, it is 26 weeks’ continuous employment by the end of the week in which the employee is notified of having been matched for adoption with the child.
The adopter’s partner must have been employed or self-employed for at least 26 of the 66 weeks immediately preceding the week in which the child enters Great Britain in relation to an adoption from overseas.
For UK adoptions, it is 26 weeks’ continuous employment by the end of the week in which the adopter is notified of having been matched for adoption with the child.
3. When can an employee who is adopting a child from overseas take shared parental leave?
Shared parental leave and overseas adoption: model notification forms
An employee can take shared parental leave at any time between the date on which the child enters Great Britain and the first anniversary of that date.
With UK adoptions, the key date is when the child was placed for adoption – shared parental leave must be taken within a year of that date.
4. Is an employee who is adopting a child from overseas required to provide the same information as a UK adoption?
No, there are important variations in the information that an employee must provide.
For example, on the notice of entitlement and intention to take shared parental leave, the employee must state the date that they received the “official notification” (which is essentially confirmation of the employee’s eligibility to adopt and approval as a suitable adoptive parent).
This differs from UK adoptions where employees are required to provide notification that they have been matched for adoption with a child.
5. Can an employer request supplementary evidence from an employee who is adopting a child from overseas?
Yes, but the evidence that an employer can request from an employee who is adopting a child from overseas is different from the evidence that can be required from an employee who is adopting a child within the UK.
For example, while an employer can require an employee who is adopting from overseas a copy of the official notification, it cannot compel the employee to produce evidence confirming the date on which the child is expected to enter the UK.