Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) Rates & Eligibility

Last updated: April 2021

Recent Update: For the 2021 – 2022 Tax Year, the following has changed:
Minimum weekly pay to qualify for SAP: this is now £120 per week.
Weekly SAP rate after initial 6 weeks: this is now a maximum of £151.97 per week.


Ensuring Statutory Adoption Pay is processed and paid correctly can be a difficult task. In addition to the array of daily jobs that come with running a business, understanding the eligibility criteria and working out an employee’s correct Statutory Adoption Pay entitlement can be a stressful task. However, it doesn’t need to be – IRIS FMP have 40 years’ experience in tailoring outsourced part-managed bureau and fully-managed payroll services to take tasks such as Statutory Adoption Pay off your hands. We know how to make sure your employees are paid their Statutory Adoption Pay correctly.

What is Statutory Adoption Pay?

If an employee is about to adopt or have a child through a surrogate and is eligible, they can take up to 52 weeks of Statutory Adoption Leave. Alongside this, employees can receive Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP);

For the first 6 weeks, SAP is 90% of an employee’s average weekly earnings.

For the following 33 weeks (maximum), SAP is either 90% of their average weekly earnings, or £151.97 per week (whichever is the lowest).

National Insurance and Tax will be deducted from both of these.

Eligibility for Statutory Adoption Pay

To be eligible for Statutory Adoption Pay, an employee must:

  • Provide sufficient and correct notice (within 7 days of being matched with their child, the employee must request their leave start date, the date of placement, and the end of their leave date. The employer must confirm this within 28 days, in writing.)
  • Provide proof of adoption or surrogacy (this needs to display the employee’s name and address and name of the agency, matching certificate, date of placement and ‘official notification’)
  • Be on the employer’s payroll and have earned at least £120 a week (before tax) during an 8 week period
  • Have worked consistently for a minimum of 26 weeks until the week they were matched with the child

If the employee is having a child through a surrogate:

The above still applies, however they must have worked consistently for their employer for a minimum of 26 weeks up to the 15th week before the baby is due.

How We Can Help

IRIS FMP are able to tailor a payroll solution to suit your business’ exact requirements, undertaking tasks such as Statutory Adoption Pay to allow you to truly focus on the working day. Find out more information on our outsourced payroll solutions page.

For the complete, in-depth guidelines on Statutory Adoption Pay entitlement, eligibility and exceptions, please visit the Gov website.

Quick Reference FAQs

Q. How much is Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP)?

A. For the first 6 weeks, SAP is 90% of an employee’s average weekly earnings. For the following 33 weeks maximum, SAP is whichever is lowest – £151.97 a week or 90% of an employee’s average weekly earnings.

Q. Are employees entitled to extra adoption pay?

A. An employer might pay more than SAP if there is a company scheme in place for adoption leave/pay. This scheme should be made aware to all employees within a company.

Q. What are an employee’s Adoption Leave rights?

A. An employee that is on adoption leave and receiving adoption pay is entitled to their employment rights – including accrued holiday and return to work.