Adoption leave

The Armed Forces’ aim is to provide, wherever possible, supportive arrangements - comparable to existing maternity arrangements insofar as leave entitlement is concerned - for personnel newly adopting children. This provision is available to all Service personnel who are notified of being matched with a child and who are not taking Paternity Leave (Adoption).

It is stressed that this provision relates only to adoption placements organised through legally recognised adoption agencies and to children placed for adoption within Great Britain. It does not, for example, apply in a case where a step-parent adopts a child after marrying the natural father/mother or after forming a civil partnership. 

In line with the government’s aim to make adoption leave comparable to maternity leave, there is a distinction between ‘Ordinary Adoption Leave’ (OAL) and ‘Additional Adoption Leave’ (AAL).

OAL is set at a maximum period of 26 weeks’ paid leave. AAL is a further period of 26 weeks’ leave, the first 13 weeks of which are paid, followed by 13 weeks’ unpaid leave.

Although broadly comparable with existing maternity leave arrangements, adoption leave is open to both male and female Service personnel, but only one parent is eligible for adoption leave/adoption pay. The other parent (male or female) will be eligible for leave under the paternity leave arrangements.

If more than one child is adopted as part of the same placement arrangement, the entitlement to adoption leave remains the same as for a single child. If children are adopted as part of separate placement arrangements over a period of time, then there will be an entitlement in respect of each separate placement.

Provided that a placement date has been officially specified, a proportion of OAL may be taken for activities in advance of assuming full-time care e.g., meeting and spending some time with the child/children. The earliest date on which OAL can begin is 14 days before the expected date of the placement of the adopted child.

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