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You have a statutory right to take 52 weeks of adoption leave if you: 

  • are an employee; 
  • are the person adopting the child (If you are in a couple, only one parent – called the 'primary adopter' – can take adoption leave); and 
  • have notified the adoption agency that you agree to the placement of the child with you and you have agreed the date of the placement. 

The right to take adoption leave is a right from day one of your employment (although 26 weeks’ service is needed to claim Statutory Adoption Pay). 

Only one adopting parent (the 'primary adopter') can take statutory adoption leave. However, some of the leave (up to 50 weeks) can be shared between you, as Shared Parental Leave, as long as both parents qualify. 

If you are both employees, you choose between yourselves who is going to be the 'primary adopter' for the purposes of exercising your employment rights. 

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.
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