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What is changing for adoptive parents on 5th April?

New regulations are coming in for adoptive parents from 5th April 2015 which are similar to the rights of mothers taking maternity leave.

Current adoption rights differ from maternity rights. For example at the moment Statutory Maternity Pay is paid for up to 39 weeks and you get 90% of your average weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks, followed by £138.18 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks.

At the moment Statutory Adoption Pay means you get the lower amount for the full 39 weeks i.e. £138.18 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).

So from 5th April 2015, Statutory Adoption Pay and Statutory Maternity Pay will be exactly the same.

This is a step forward to make sure that there is less Maternity and Paternity Discrimination at Work whether you are adopting or having your own child.

The changes that will come in on 5th April 2015 are:

• The main adopter will be able to take paid time off for up to five adoption appointments. The secondary adopter will be entitled to take unpaid time off for up to two appointments.

• Adoption leave will become a "day one" right, so employees will no longer need to have 26 weeks' continuous employment to be eligible.

• The Statutory Adoption Pay will change - the first six weeks will be paid at 90% of the employee's normal earnings, bringing it in-line with maternity pay.

• Some surrogate parents will become eligible for adoption leave.

As of 5 April 2015, adoptive parents are also entitled to take up to a maximum of 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave for each child under the age of 18.

Adoptive parents may also be entitled to take Shared Parental Leave for any child who is placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015.

If you need any legal guidance when considering adoption, or help with any employment issue our expert team of Employment Lawyers at Slater and Gordon can help. Call Slater and Gordon Lawyers on freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers are a leading employment law firm with more than 1,450 staff and 18 offices in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Milton Keynes, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Cambridge, Merseyside, Halifax, Sheffield, Newcastle, Wakefield, Derby and meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire and in Hull, Yorkshire.

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