The right to Paternity Leave is in addition to any rights for Shared Parental Leave (see our separate Legal Overview). Paternity Leave is intended to enable time off to help care for the child and/or to support the mother following childbirth.
When do employees qualify for statutory paternity leave and pay?
To qualify an employee must:
• Have been in continuous employment with the same employer for 26 weeks ending with the 15th week before the baby is due.
• Be the biological father of the child or be the mother’s or adopter’s partner and expect to have responsibility for the child.
How does an employee notify their employer and what information is required?
In order to take Paternity Leave employees are required to notify their employers, in writing, providing the
following information at least 15 weeks before the expected week of childbirth:
• The expected week of childbirth.
• The length of the period of leave required and the date from which leave is requested.
How long is paternity leave and when does it need to be taken?
An employee is entitled to a maximum of 2 weeks paternity leave. This should be taken in a single block; it cannot be taken as separate periods, odd days or as separate weeks and can start on any day of the week.
The leave must be taken within 56 days of the date of the child’s birth or if the child is born earlier then the leave must be completed within 56 days of the first day of that week. However, see also our section on the new Shared Parental Leave.
Statutory Paternity Pay
The rate is £145.18 per week (increased from £140.98 on 6th April 2018) or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is lower. To be eligible for paternity pay employees must be earning at least an average of £90 per week before tax. In order to receive statutory paternity pay the employee must provide a completed self certificate confirming that he is the father of the child and/or the husband, civil partner or partner of the mother and:
• Is taking leave either to care for the child and/or to support the mother, and
• has, or expects to have, responsibility for the upbringing of the child.
The employee must give their employer a completed self-certificate to confirm their entitlement and must do so at least 28 days before they want the pay to begin. Fathers and Partners also have the right to Shared Parental Leave.
The above information is not intended to be a complete or definitive statement of the law. For more information or advice please contact our Employment Law team.
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