Adoption Pay

Article Title : Adoption Pay

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SAP eligibility - UK adoptions

A person qualifies for Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) when adopting a child from within the UK provided they have:

  • been continuously employed by you for at least 26 weeks extending into the ‘matching week’ - this is the week (beginning on Sunday and ending on Saturday) in which they are notified of having been matched with the child
  • given you at least 28 days’ notice (or as much as is reasonably practical) of the date from which they want payment of SAP to begin
  • average weekly earnings at or above the lower earnings limit for National Insurance contributions that applies at the end of the matching week - currently £113.00.

Before you start payment of SAP, your employee must provide evidence to show that they are adopting a child through an adoption agency. This evidence must show:

  • the name and address of the adoption agency and of your employee
  • the date the child is expected to be - or was - placed for adoption
  • the date the adopter was told by the adoption agency that they had been matched with a child

SAP rates and recovery

Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) is paid for 39 weeks and usually covers the first 39 weeks of your employee’s adoption leave. The amount you must pay to eligible employees is the lower of:

  • the standard weekly rate - £140.98 from
  • 90 per cent of their average weekly earnings

As with SMP you can recover some or all of your SAP payments from HMRC, this is dependent on the size of your annual NICs liability.

Joint and individual adoptions

  • If your employee is adopting on an individual basis, they will be eligible for SAP if they meet the relevant criteria. Their partner (regardless of gender) may be eligible for Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP).
  • Where a couple is adopting on a joint basis, they can choose which partner will take SAP and which will take SPP.