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Statutory Adoption Pay

If you adopt a child you may qualify for Statutory Adoption Pay during your adoption leave from work.

1. What is Statutory Adoption Pay?

If you adopt a child you may qualify for Statutory Adoption Pay during your adoption leave from work.

Applies to: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Age rules: There are no specific age rules

Type of benefit: Non means tested

Taxable: Yes

Administered by: Your employer


2. Can I get Statutory Adoption Pay?

To qualify for Statutory Adoption Pay, you must have been matched with a child for adoption by an adoption agency.

You must have been employed by your present employer without a break for at least 26 weeks up to and including the week the adoption agency told you that you had been matched with a child for adoption.

You must be earning an average of at least £123 a week (before tax). If you have been furloughed because of coronavirus, your earnings should be assessed on what you would usually earn, and not on the 80% you have been receiving. 

Where a couple adopts a child, only one parent is entitled to take adoption leave and claim Statutory Adoption Pay. The other parent may be able to get paternity leave and get Statutory Paternity Pay during this time. This includes same-sex couples.

If you don't use up all your statutory adoption leave and Statutory Adoption Pay, and you go back to work, your partner may be able to take the remainder of the leave and claim your remaining pay to look after the child.

Updated April 2022

3. How much Statutory Adoption Pay will I get?

Statutory Adoption Pay is paid at a flat rate of £156.66 a week or 90% of your normal gross weekly earnings, whichever is lower.

You can get Statutory Adoption Pay for up to 39 weeks.

Benefit Cap

Statutory Adoption Pay is not included in the Benefit Cap which limits the total amount in some benefits that working-age people can receive.

How will I be paid Statutory Adoption Pay?

Your employer will pay Statutory Adoption Pay to you in the same way and at the same time as your normal wages.

Statutory Adoption Pay and other benefits

Statutory Adoption Pay counts in full as income when calculating your entitlement to other means-tested benefits. For tax credits, £100 per week is ignored. For Universal Credit, some of your Statutory Adoption Pay will be ignored. Use our Benefits Calculator to work out how much you will be entitled to.

Updated: April 2022

4. How do I claim Statutory Adoption Pay?

You must tell your employer that you want to take adoption leave no more than seven days after you have been notified that you have been matched with a child for adoption, or as soon as is practical after this.

You must tell your employer the date on which you expect the child to be placed with you and the date on which you want your statutory adoption leave (and therefore your Statutory Adoption Pay) to start.

What documents will I need to claim Statutory Adoption Pay?

You must give your employer evidence of the adoption. This will usually be the 'matching certificate' that you get from the adoption agency.

When will my Statutory Adoption Pay claim begin?

You can choose when to start getting your Statutory Adoption Pay. It can start from the date of the child's placement or up to 14 days before the expected date of the placement.

Change of circumstances

You must report changes in your circumstances which might affect your entitlement to this benefit.

5. How do I challenge a Statutory Adoption Pay decision?

If you disagree with a Statutory Adoption Pay decision made by your employer, you can contact HM Revenue and Customs Statutory Payments Disputes Team.

This may affect your job and your relationship with your employer so you may want to seek specialist advice on this matter first.