On the 10th October 2016, new Regulations came into force, giving new rights to employees who have adopted a child, analogous to maternity leave. Prior to the Regulations, employees who adopted a child were only entitled to unpaid parental leave.
The Adoption Leave National Standard Order (Subsidiary Legislation 452.11) provides that an employee who is the parent of an adopted child is entitled to an uninterrupted period of eighteen weeks' adoption leave, corresponding to the eighteen weeks' maternity leave. Similarly, also to maternity leave, only the first fourteen weeks are to be paid leave by the employer. If both parents are in employment and wish to both avail themselves of adoption leave, such leave is to be divided between them as they may agree in writing. During such period of leave, the employee shall be entitled to all the rights and benefits which may accrue to other employees and shall also be entitled to resume work in the post previously occupied upon return to work.
Similarly also to maternity leave, upon termination of the adoption leave, the employee must resume the employment duties with the employer for a minimum period. However, this period is shorter than that applicable to return from maternity leave – two months as opposed to the six months stipulated in the case of the latter. Moreover, the Regulations also provide that if only part of the two months are worked by the employee, the wages to be returned to the employer and which were paid during the adoption leave, are to be reduced proportionately. The abatement of the sum to be paid by the employee is also a new feature which is not found in relation to maternity leave.