Statutory adoption pay (SAP)

You can easily process statutory adoption pay (SAP) by using Payroll to automatically calculate it for you.

We’ve gathered together everything you need to help you understand the qualifying rules and entitlement, as well as how to record it.

You can also find information from GOV.UK.

Qualifying rules and entitlement

  • An adopter is entitled to 52 weeks statutory adoption leave.
  • For employees who qualify, SAP is payable for 39 weeks.
  • 90% of their average weekly earnings (AWE) for the first six weeks.
    £145.18 a week or 90% of their AWE for the next 33 weeks, which ever if lower.
  • If the employee meets all qualifying conditions, as an employer, you’re obliged to pay the statutory rate of SAP. Whether you pay any further wages on top of the statutory requirement depends on the employee’s contract of employment. You’re under no statutory obligation to pay anything further.

If for any reason, your employee isn’t entitled to SAP, you must give them Form SAP1 Non-payment of Statutory Adoption Pay.

There are also additional rights and requirements which can vary depending on whether your employee adopts a child from the UK or from overseas.

Adopting a child from the UK

Documentary evidence

Your employee must provide documentary evidence to prove that they’re adopting a child through an adoption agency at least 28 days before the start of payment. This can be a matching certificate or a letter and must show:

  • The name and address of the employee and the adoption agency.
  • The date the child was, or is expected to be, placed with the employee.
  • The date that the employee was told by the adoption agency that they had been matched with a child.
Length of employment

The employee must have been continuously employed by you for the 26 weeks up to and continuing into the matching week. The matching week is the week in which the employee was told by the adoption agency that they had been matched with a child.

The employee’s earnings

The employee’s average weekly earnings in the eight weeks before the matching week must be at or above the current national insurance (NI) Lower Earnings Limit (LEL). For the 2018/2019 tax year, this is £116.00.

SAP start date

Your employee has the right to choose when they want to start their adoption pay and leave. The date:

  • Can’t be more than 14 days before the expected placement date.
  • Must start no later than the date the child is placed, or the day after that if they were at work that day.

Adopting a child from abroad

Documentary evidence
  • You should give the employee Form SC6 Statutory Adoption Pay and adoption leave when adopting from abroad. The employee must complete the declaration and give it to you.
  • The adopter must have received official notification. The adopter can’t receive SAP or adoption leave unless they’ve received official notification from the relevant UK authority that they’re eligible to adopt a child from overseas. The employee needs to keep this document so you should take a copy for your records.
  • The employee must provide you with evidence that the child has actually entered the UK to live with them, such as airplane tickets or copies of entry clearance documents.
Length of employment

The employee must have been continuously employed by you for the 26 weeks up to and continuing into the week in which they received the official notification, or by the time they want to start their adoption pay period (APP), whichever is later.

The employee’s earnings

The employee’s average weekly earnings must be greater than the current national insurance (NI) Lower Earnings Limit (LEL). For the 2016/2017 tax year, this is £112.00.

The value is calculated at the end of the week in which the adopter received official notification, or the week they complete 26 weeks continuous employment if this is later.

SAP start date

Your employee can choose to start being paid and start their leave:

  • On the date the child enters the UK, or on the following day if your employee is at work that day, or
  • On a pre-determined date, chosen by your employee, no later than 28 days after the child enters the UK.

To record SAP

  • 1. Click the Pay Runs tab, then click Process Pay Run.
  • 2. Check the pay date is correct, then click Next.
  • 3. Select the relevant employee, then click Add Absence then Adoption.
  • 4. Complete the following details:
Item Description
Matching Date Enter the date when the adoption agency told the employee that they’ve been matched with a child.
Documentation Received If the employee has notified you formally of their intention to take adoption leave by showing you proof of adoption, choose Yes.
Placement Date Enter the date the adopted child starts living with the employee permanently.
Start Date Enter the date the employee wants to start their adoption leave.
End Date Enter the date the employee wants the adoption leave to end.
Pension Earnings If any payment made to the employee as SAP should be included in pensionable earnings, select this check box.
Qualifying Earnings If any payment made to the employee as SAP should be included in qualifying earnings, select this check box.
  • 5. Click Save.

If there’s not enough information to calculate the average weekly earnings (AWE), this option appears:

Issue Certificate SAP1 If the employee isn’t entitled to SAP because her earnings are less than £112, click the SAP1 link and provide her with the form.
Manually set the AWE value If you started using Payroll part-way through the tax year and there’s not enough history to calculate the average pay, select Manually set the AWE value > enter the average weekly pay.
  • 6. Click Save.
  • 7. Complete the pay run as normal.

Recovering SAP payments from HMRC

An employer can usually reclaim 92% of employees’ statutory payments.

For more information, please visit GOV.UK.