Ordinary Paternity Leave and Pay

Qualifying male employees are entitled to 2 weeks paid paternity leave to be taken in blocks of one or two weeks. This is known as Ordinary Paternity Leave (“OPL”). In order to qualify, they have to show that they have a specific relationship to the mother of the child and/or the child itself and to have been employed for a minimum of 26 weeks at the time 15 weeks before the baby is due. The taking of one day in isolation will count as one week.

In certain circumstances women may also be entitled to take paternity leave – where they are the partner of the birth or adoptive mother or where a child is adopted jointly by a couple and the father takes adoption leave, the mother can take paternity leave.

Paternity leave is paid at the same rate as SMP, unless the contract of employment provides for enhanced paternity pay.

Recovery of SPP by employers is the same as for SMP.

Rights during and after Paternity Leave

  • Entitled to return to a job of a kind undertaken prior to the leave provided that leave;
  • is one isolated period or
  • the last of any two or more consecutive periods which did not include:
  • additional maternity
  • additional adoption
  • more than 4 weeks’ parental
  • If he does not qualify under the above, he is entitled to return to a suitable and appropriate job if it is not reasonably practicable to return to the same job
  • Benefit of terms and conditions as if no absence and bound by obligations arising under those terms and conditions

Additional Paternity Leave and Pay

Fathers of a baby born on or after the 3rd April 2011 may take up to 26 weeks Additional Paternity Leave (“APL”) under new rules being brought in with effect from this date. The entitlement to take up to two weeks OPL continues.

The purpose of APL is to enable an employee to care for a child after his wife or partner has returned to work.

An employee’s statutory minimum entitlement to APL must be taken in multiples of complete weeks and last between 2 weeks and 26 weeks. In addition, APL must be taken within a window that starts 20 weeks after, and ends 12 months after the child’s date of birth, and is dependent on the employee’s wife or partner having returned to work from their Statutory Maternity Leave.

Notice and Evidential Requirements

An employee must comply with the Notice and Evidential Requirements at least 8 weeks before the date on which he wishes his APL to start. He must give his employer:-

  • A Written Leave Notice, specifying details of the child’s EWC, birth and details of the period of the APL
  • A signed Employee Declaration
  • A written Mother Declaration from the child’s mother

The employer has 28 days from receipt of the employee’s Notice to confirm relevant APL dates to the employee in writing.

Paternity Pay

Employees who take Statutory Paternity Leave (“SPL”) following the birth of a child may be eligible to receive Statutory Paternity Pay (“SPP”). Those who take Ordinary Paternity Leave (“OPL”) may be entitled to Ordinary Statutory Paternity Pay (“OSPP”). Those who take APL may be entitled to Additional Statutory Paternity Pay (“ASPP”).

To receive ASPP the mother must first have been entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (“SMP”) or Statutory Maternity Allowance (“SMA”), and must have returned to work with at least 2 weeks of their pay period remaining. The total number of weeks of ASPP that the employee may receive will depend on the number of unused weeks of the SMP, or SMA that were left when their wife or partner returned to work.

Employers and employees should be in no doubt that the administrative hoops to obtain APL and ASPP are considerable.

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