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Paternity leave in the UK
We have been helping shape successful careers for over 40 years, so we have the experience and knowledge to advise you on all of your work related queries. When you are preparing to welcome a new addition to the family you will want to take the time to celebrate, settle and bond. While mothers can take up to 52 weeks of statutory maternity leave from 11 weeks before the baby is due, the laws surrounding paternity leave are often not well understood.
Both parents are entitled to receive parental leave to take care of their children, but after the birth of a new baby, fathers are also entitled to time off and paternity pay. The current UK paternity laws are in place to help new fathers better manage their work demands with their personal life by allowing them to take time off to look after their loved ones. For a majority of men, the idea of taking paternity leave has been one which has taken time to get used to. But we’ve seen that increased demands on the time of new parents trying to juggle their career and achieve a healthy work life balance has seen more men embracing the opportunity to take leave.
Where do I start?
First, you need to make sure that you are eligible. Regarding the child in question, you must either be the father, adoptive father, husband/partner of the mother, or the intended parent.
Regarding your employment status, you’ll need to have been with your employer for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth. You also need to be in your job right up to the date of birth and earn at least £113 a week before tax.
If an unfortunate set of circumstances happen and you lose the baby, you will still be eligible for paternity pay.
You can get up to a maximum of two weeks leave at a weekly rate of £140.98, or 90% of your average weekly earnings which must be paid while you’re on leave.
Remember, it’s up to your employer to confirm your start and leave dates.
If it’s the case that you’re not eligible then your employer has to notify you within 28 days and advise why you’re not through a refuse pay form SPP1.
Follow these steps to claim your paternity leave
You need to notify your employer of the following, using form SC3, (or your employer’s equivalent) 15 weeks before the week of the due date.
- When you want your leave to start,
- The baby’s due date; and
- Whether or not you want one or two weeks’ leave.
Be aware that your employer also has the right to ask for this request in writing in addition to the form.
You are entitled to attend two antenatal appointments and your employment rights such as pay rises and the accruement of holidays, are protected for the duration of the paternity leave.