NHS Fife acknowledges and agrees with the importance of regular and timely review of policy/procedure statements and aims to review policies within the timescales set out.
New policies/procedures will be subject to a review date of no more than 1 year from the date of first issue.
Reviewed policies/procedures will have a review date set that is relevant to the content (advised by the author) but will be no longer than 3 years.
If a policy/procedure is past its review date then the content will remain extant until such time as the policy/procedure review is complete and the new version published, or there are national policy or legislative changes.
This policy has been developed to ensure NHS Fife meets it’s obligations within the Agenda for Change and Hospital Medical and Dental Staff, Doctors and Dentists in Public Health Medicine and the Community Health Service Terms and Conditions of Service and the statutory regulations relating to Adoption leave and pay.
The policy applies to all employees of NHS Fife.
The responsibility for the application of the policy rests with Line Managers within NHS Fife, Payroll and HR staff.
4. OPERATIONAL SYSTEM
NHS Fife wishes to deal sensitively and sympathetically with staff who are considering being the main carer in adopting or fostering a child and are looking for time off to support them in the initial stages of this process.
NHS Fife recognises that the needs of the adoptive or foster parent(s) are at least as great as those of natural parent(s) in establishing a relationship with the child and in developing new routines. The Adoption and Fostering Leave Policy is therefore, to enable an employee who wishes to adopt or foster a baby or child to take a period of leave to help the child settle into the family and adjust to new circumstances. Where both parents are employed by NHS Fife, leave may be shared or taken entirely by the primary carer. One parent should be identified as the primary carer and be entitled to the majority of the leave. However, in certain circumstances, e.g. the adoption or foster of a child with special needs, leave may be requested by both parents. NHS Fife also recognises that a single person may adopt a child.
As fostering can be for varying lengths of time, from very short term to long term fostering, NHS Fife will adopt a flexible approach to this. Staff should therefore discuss their intention to foster with their Line Manager as soon as possible, to ascertain the support they will need.
For very short term fostering it would be more appropriate to process time off under the current Special Leave Policy. For long term fostering, the Line Manager can consider providing time off in line with the arrangements for Adoption Leave / Pay detailed below. For the purposes of consistency, advice and guidance should be sought from the Human Resources Directorate.
The Line Manager should be advised in writing as soon as the employee is notified by the Adoption Agency that their application for adoption has been accepted. Reasonable time off will be given to attend official meetings in the adoption process following acceptance this will normally be limited to up to 5 days. Proof of appointment will be required when requesting leave to attend court sessions, interviews and other meetings.
4.3 Adoption Leave – Returning to Work
An appropriate application form and notification from the Adoption Agency must be submitted when requesting adoption leave. Leave should be requested as soon as practicable as the Line Manager will already be aware of the intention to adopt a baby / child. Leave and pay entitlements will be calculated as follows.
- Employees with one or more year’s service with the NHS will be entitled to 39 weeks paid leave, plus up to 13 weeks unpaid leave. The paid leave is calculated as follows:-
- Weeks 1 – 8 (inclusive) – Full Pay
- Weeks 9 – 26 (inclusive) – Half of full pay plus Statutory Adoption Pay, whichever is the lesser, as normal take home pay cannot be exceeded. This is subject to earnings being sufficient to attract liability for Class I National Insurance.
- Weeks 27 – 39 (inclusive) – Statutory Adoption Pay
- Employees who have been employed for a minimum period of 26 weeks with NHS Fife up to and including the week the adoption agency notifies them that they have been matched with a child for adoption will be entitled to: 39 weeks statutory adoption pay or 9/10ths of average earnings, whichever is lesser, subject to earnings being sufficient to attract liability for Class I National Insurance.
- Employees with less than 26 weeks service with NHS Fife will be entitled to 52 weeks unpaid leave.
- Adoption leave commences from date of placement or up to 14 days prior to the placement if the child is coming from overseas.
- Adoption pay is only paid for complete weeks within each month i.e. if the 27thof a month is a Saturday you would be paid up to the 27thin that months pay however, payment for 28thto 31stof that month would be paid in the following month.
- On receipt of the completed application, the appropriate Human Resources Assistant will calculate the entitlement to leave / pay and forward a letter to the applicant confirming these details and forward a copy of the letter to the Line Manager.
- The employee should advise the Line Manager of their intention to return to work as soon as they know and no later than 28 days prior to the date of return. If the employee returns to work after 39 weeks, i.e. the end of the paid period of leave, any further leave required for court hearings, social work visits etc will be unpaid.
- The employee will retain the right to work on no less favourable terms and conditions of employment than prior to taking the adoption leave.
- If the employee fails to return to work anywhere in the NHS for at least three months, having originally indicated that they will return, they will be required to repay their occupational adoption pay.
- Employees who are not certain whether they will return to work may opt to defer payment until they can make a more informed decision. Please see section 4.5.
4.4 Additional Paternity Leave and Pay
Employees can nominate the adoptive partner who is not the primary carer to have up to 26 weeks’ additional paternity leave if they return to work and meet certain criteria. If employees wish to make this nomination they should indicate this on their adoption leave application form.
Pay or leave can only be given providing the employee has returned to work and all relevant pay has been stopped at least two weeks before the end of the 39 week leave period. Employees are therefore required to provide their partner with a confirmation letter from NHS Fife that they have returned to work and all payments have ceased.
4.5 Employees Not Intending to Return to Work
Employees who do not intend to return to work after adoption leave, may be entitled to six weeks paid leave, plus a further 33 weeks leave if they have more than 26 weeks continuous NHS Fife service. This shall be regarded as service with NHS Fife; therefore the date of resignation will be 39 weeks after the beginning of the period of Adoption Leave.
4.6 If the Employee is undecided on whether they wish to return to work
If the employee is undecided whether they wish to return to work following the placement of the child, they will be paid as if they were not returning to work (see paragraph 4.4). Their post, however, will be held open and if they decide to return, provided they meet the qualifying criteria for Contractual and Statutory Adoption Pay then the additional monies will be paid to them in a lump sum following a period of 3 months after the return date as follows:
- 6 weeks – 1/10thof full pay
- 2 weeks – full pay (less SAP already paid)
- 18 weeks – half pay
4.7 Annual Leave & Public Holidays
The periods of paid and unpaid leave shall count towards the calculation of annual leave entitlement in accordance with the Agenda for Change and the Hospital Medical and Dental Staff, Doctors and Dentists in Public Health Medicine and the Community Health Service Terms and Conditions of Service and their contract of employment.
Public Holidays accrue during periods of adoption leave. In addition, staff with less than 5 years service and on 27 days annual leave will be given an additional days leave to comply with the statutory 28 day Working Time Directive entitlement, pro-rata for part time staff.
Superannuation rights and contributions shall be dealt with in accordance with the NHS Scotland Superannuation Regulations. Employees are required to maintain payment of their contributions for the period of unpaid leave and arrangements to repay the appropriate contributions will be made with the Payroll Department after their return to work.
Alternatively, employees can arrange to opt-out of the scheme during their period of leave.
4.9 Incremental Date
Absence on Adoption Leave, whether paid or unpaid, shall count towards normal increments and will not defer the normal incremental date. The expectation is that whilst on adoption leave employees would progress through a KSF gateway on the due date, unless concerns had been raised about their ability to meet their KSF outline prior to adoption leave.
4.10 Keeping in Touch
Employees will be allowed to work up to a maximum of 10 days without bringing their adoption leave to an end, losing Statutory Adoption Pay, or extending the adoption leave period. These days are called Keeping in Touch (KIT) days. KIT days are intended to facilitate a smooth return to work.
The work can be consecutive or not and working for part of any day will count as one KIT day. Employees will be paid at their basic daily rate, for the hours worked less appropriate adoption leave pay for KIT days worked. Employers are not obliged to offer work and employees don’t have to accept it.
4.11 Contractual Rights
During a period of Adoption Leave, the employee will retain all contractual rights, except remuneration.
4.12 Fixed Term / Training Contracts
An employee on a fixed term contract, satisfying the conditions for paid entitlement to leave, and whose contract expires between 11 weeks before and 6 weeks after the date of adoption, will have their contracts extended to enable then to receive 39 weeks paid leave. If the right to return to work cannot be exercised because of the termination of the contract, pay cannot be reclaimed for not returning to work.
If employees are on a planned rotation, as part of an agreed programme of training, they have the right to return to work in the same post or in the next planned post with the same or another Health Board, to enable them to complete the programme of training.
4.13 Entitlement when the employee is not the Primary Carer
Where the employee is not the Primary Carer, leave equivalent to that granted under NHS Fife’s Paternity Leave Policy will be given.
You don’t qualify for Statutory Adoption Leave or Pay if you:
- arrange a private adoption
- become a special guardian or kinship carer
- adopt a stepchild
- have a child through surrogacy
- adopt a family member
If you are not eligible, your employer must give you form SAP1 explaining why you can’t get Statutory Adoption Pay.
You may get support from you local council (https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council) instead.
4.15 Additional Information
Information in respect of car status, health and safety and risk assessments, flexible working, and breastfeeding facilities are contained within the Maternity Guidelines for employees.
5. RELATED DOCUMENTS
Other HR policies, terms and conditions of service and application for adoption leave.
- Agenda for Change and Hospital Medical and Dental Staff, Doctors and Dentists in Public Health Medicine and the Community Health Service Terms and Conditions of Service.
- Statutory Adoption Regulations