Let us explain the most important points to know about employees' paternity leave rights, including new rules that mean Dads can take up to 50 weeks off following the birth of their child.
Paid statutory paternity leave of one or two weeks was first introduced in 2003 and applies to both fathers and partners provided they satisfy certain eligibility requirements, including if the child is adopted.
Here are a few key facts you will need to know:
Statutory paternity leave is only available to employees (and not to other types of worker or to the self-employed) and employees will only be eligible if they have or expect to have responsibility for the child’s upbringing; and if they are the biological father of the child or they are the mother’s spouse or partner (including same-sex relationships).
Also, in order to qualify the employee must have been continuously employed for at least 26 weeks by their employer by the end of the 15th week before the week in which the child is expected to be born.
Employees should notify their employer at least 15 weeks before the due date of the child of the date the child is due to be born, when they wish their statutory paternity leave to start, and the amount of statutory paternity leave they wish to take.
The current statutory paternity leave allowance is a maximum of two weeks. Employees can choose to take either a single week or two consecutive weeks and so this is something which employers should be mindful of in terms of planning for the staffing needs of their business.
Statutory paternity leave must be taken within 56 days from the actual date of birth of the child. It can begin on the day the baby is born, a certain number of days after the baby is born or on a specific date which must not be earlier than the baby’s due date. Crucially, paternity leave cannot begin before the baby is born, unlike maternity leave
The current statutory entitlement to paternity pay is £145.18 per week or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings, whichever is the lower. There is a special leave calculator for maternity, adoption and paternity pay for employers to use on the gov.uk website.
Shared parental leave (SPL) was introduced in the UK in April 2015 and is an additional right to the other type of statutory family leave arrangements. SPL allows both the child’s mother and the child’s father (and the spouse or partner of the mother) to share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between them. Employees will need to do this within the first year after the birth of the child (or a child being placed with their family, if they are adopting).
More information about SPL can be found at https://www.gov.uk/shared-parental-leave-and-pay or give us a call on 01492 535640 (Colwyn Bay) or 01745 343661 (Rhyl) for more on employment law.