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Paternity Leave and Pay

5 April 2015

Statutory paternity leave is a form of leave that enables parents to spend time with their new family.

baby boy

Paternity Leave is quite separate from Parental Leave. The right to statutory paternity leave (in addition to your normal holiday entitlement) is given if you are an employee with a contract of employment and if you meet the following criteria:

In general you must:

  • be the biological father of the child or partner (including same-sex relationship) or you are the child’s adopter or the partner of the adopter
  • be fully involved in the child’s upbringing and are taking time off to support the mother or care for the baby.

Amount of Statutory Paternity Leave

The maximum amount of statutory paternity leave that may be taken is two weeks. It can be taken in a block of one week or two weeks, but if the employee chooses to take one week off it is not possible to take the other week at a later stage. The leave can start on any day of the week but it must finish within 56 days of the baby being born or the adoption placement.

Notice to take Statutory Paternity Leave

To qualify for leave you must tell your employer in writing at least 15 weeks before the beginning of the week when the baby is due or within 7 days of being told by the adoption agency that you have been matched with a child. You must tell your employer:

  • when the baby is due or when the child is expected to be placed with you for adoption
  • whether you want one or two weeks leave
  • when you want the leave to start.

You must give your employer 28 days notice of the date on which you want your Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) to start. You can also change your mind about the date on which you want your SPP to start by giving 28 days’ notice.

Rights during and after Paternity Leave

While on statutory paternity leave, the employees’ terms and conditions of employment, except for remuneration, remain the same. They have no right to be paid their normal wages or salary, but may receive statutory paternity pay. Your employer will confirm this. After statutory paternity leave employees do not need to give notice of their intention to return to work. They should simply return to work as usual.

If your employer contributes to an occupational pension scheme they must carry on paying their usual contributions for the whole time you are on paid paternity leave. However, if you contribute towards your pension, you should carry on doing so based on the amount of paternity pay you are getting.

Employees have the right to return to the job they left on the same terms and conditions of employment.

An employee has the right not to be subjected to a detriment or dismissed for asserting his or her right to take statutory paternity leave. A dismissal on these grounds would be automatically unfair.

Additional Paternity Leave

Additional Paternity Leave that was introduced by regulations that came into force on 6 April 2010 ended on 4 April 2015. You may be eligible for Shared Parental Leave and Pay if your baby is due on or after 5 April 2015.