Career Woman

How your employer can support you when adopting a child


This guide outlines five ways you can get workplace support if you are adopting a child.

In recent years, family lawyers in Ipswich, Kent, Essex, London, and other places in the UK, have been working hard to advise UK residents on their rights and entitlements with respect to child adoption amid falling rates within the region.

Those thinking about adopting will have many considerations on their plates, one of which is how the adoption process may affect their work. They also may not be aware of what rights they have when it comes to adopting a child, for instance are they entitled to maternity or paternity leave? In this article, we’ll be looking at these rights and entitlements as well as five ways in which your job may be able to support you when you adopt a child.

What does adopting a child involve?

Adopting a child is a decision that should never be taken lightly as it can often be a lengthy and frustrating process. If all goes smoothly, the process for adopting a child in the UK will generally take around six months but this can be considerably longer in more complex cases.

The process begins by contacting an adoption agency and going through a number of checks and meetings to ascertain your suitability as an adoptive parent. Following this, the agency will begin the process of matching you with a child who is waiting to be adopted. From start to finish, the adoption process can include many highs and lows and can be emotionally draining – and a good adoption agency will help you to prepare for this.

Employment Rights and Entitlements When Adopting a Child

When adopting a child, it’s important that you know your entitlements and these include:

  • Child benefit – You are entitled to claim child benefit from the government from the day that the adopted child comes to live at your house.
  • Adoption pay – If you have worked for your employer for 26 weeks or longer, you are entitled to 39 weeks statutory adoption pay/leave.
  • Employee benefits – When adopting a child, you are entitled to the same benefits as those taking maternity / paternity leave during pregnancy and birth.

5 ways your job may support you

In the last section, we talked about some of your employer’s legal obligations toward you when adopting a child and, in this section, we’ll be looking at other ways in which your job may be able to support you during and after this process:

1.   Flexitime

As we’ve mentioned, the adoption process can take six months or more and, during this time, there will be meetings to attend and calls to be made. Your employer may be able to make this easier for you by allowing you to adopt flexitime to allow you to juggle your work and the adoption process.

2.   Working from home

When you adopt a child there will be a period of transition while you, your partner and the child get to know one another and establish new routines. Being able to work from home can really help during this time, both for yourself and your new child, and your employer can help by allowing you to do this for a period of time.

3.   Creche services

With some jobs, working from home is simply not possible and, for this reason, some employers provide creche services for working parents. Some major companies provide this in the UK including Vodaphone, Next and Netflix. If this is not something that your employer currently offers, it may be worth speaking to HR to see if there is a willingness to initiate this.

4.   Counselling services

Some employers offer healthcare benefits, including counselling services. Having regular counselling sessions can be really valuable in helping to navigate the new family dynamic for yourself and for the adopted child. It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with any such services offered by your employer even if you don’t feel that it’s necessary to begin with.

5.   Provide understanding and supportive measures

Many adoptive parents experience frustration as they feel that their employer does not support and celebrate their new circumstances in the same way that they would with an employee who has become pregnant and then given birth. Your employer can only support you this way if you let them know what you’re going through and so, where possible, it’s a good idea to put some time aside for this conversation.

Gaining the right support when adopting a child

Adopting a child can be an emotional rollercoaster, at times it can leave you physically and mentally drained. As a result, your work may have to take a back seat from time to time. During this time, communication between yourself and your employer is incredibly important as, while your focus will be on the adoption, your employer will need to know that this is temporary in order to make necessary adjustments to your workload.

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained legal professional. Be sure to consult a lawyer/solicitor if you’re seeking advice on adopting and employment rights. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.


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