Same sex maternity leave?

Just a quick one.

A male employee (same sex couple) is being granted "maternity" leave - (8 months).

The twins are from a surrogate mother.

Do we still call it Maternity Leave?

It does not seem to fit the terms and conditions of Paternity leave / nor is it Shared Parental Leave 

What do we call this type of Leave?


  • I think that technically it comes under adoption leave as the surrogate mother is legally the 'mother' until the intended parents are granted a parental or adoption order. At that point, they become entitled to adoption leave and pay

  • Hi Glen

    Rather than 'maternity' leave, would this not fall under adoption leave? The parents will need to adopt the babies or apply for a parental order - the primary adopter (presumably your employee) would then be eligible to take adoption leave. Gov.uk has some useful information:


    Hope this helps!
  • In reply to Teresa:

    Thanks - sounds like a good answer to me
  • In reply to Samantha:

    Thanks - I will go with that, just could not get my head around it - I was not sure if it was adoption leave if it was his sperm?
  • In reply to Glen:

    I would be inclined to say if the baby is biologically your employee's then it is paternity leave and the other father will be the adopter and so will be entitled to take adoption leave.
  • Hi, at my company we don't have separate maternity, paternity, adoption etc. policies - we have one simple parental leave policy where everyone gets 26 weeks paid leave when they become a parent - regardless of gender or how they have become a parent (birth, adoption, surrogacy etc.).
  • In reply to Glen:

    If it is his biological child then I would say it is shared parental leave - the birth mother (surrogate) should complete the required paperwork to assign her maternity leave to the father. Why do you think it does not fit this?
  • In reply to Deborah:

    It doesn't meet the criteria for Shared parental leave as the surrogate does not share any parental responsibility for the child which is one of the criteria
    They must.....
    "share the primary responsibility for the child with the other parent at the time of the birth or placement for adoption"

    In this case, the people who share the parental responsibility are the same sex couple
  • In reply to Deborah:

    Fathers cannot take maternity leave as they can't birth a child, and the birth mother is still entitled to it so cannot sign it over.

    Surrogate parent/s need to apply for a parental order to obtain parental rights if they are genetically related.
  • In reply to Joanna Rhule:

    Wow. That's very generous.
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    18 Jul, 2019 07:26

    In reply to Joanna Rhule:

    Thanks for sharing, Joanna... and welcome to the Community.
  • In reply to Nina Waters:

    We are really trying to equalise our offering - it's such a great step forward, but I understand that not all organisations are in a position to do this. The policies include other offerings such as time off to settle a child into nursery/school/university, grandparents leave and enhanced carers leave. We have just introduced them, so it will be interesting to see how the take-up of the policies is and the impact of them on engagement etc.
  • In reply to Joanna Rhule:

    Great policy in my view.

    I can also see that having the effect of protecting the company from having to get involved in potentially tricky decisions such the one being described by original poster.
  • In reply to Joanna Rhule:

    Time off because your child is going to university? Is this where I moan about the snowflake younger generations?
  • In reply to Gemma Thomson:

    In the case of Adoption Leave - the couple can decide who is the primary and who is the secondary carer. So it doesn't necessarily need to be the parent that is biologically the father to take the equivalent leave of paternity. It is whoever intends to be "primary" carer vs secondary carer.