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Additional Paternity Leave Entitlement – What You Need To Know

Additional Paternity Leave applies to eligible parents of a baby due on or after April 3, 2011. This builds on the existing entitlement for eligible parents to take Ordinary Paternity Leave.

Since 2003, employees qualifying for Ordinary Paternity Leave have been entitled to take off one or two consecutive weeks in the first eight weeks after their child’s birth.

Entitlement to Paternity Leave

To qualify for Paternity Leave employees must have sufficient service with their employer and, in birth cases, a specified relationship with either the child or the child’s mother. In the case of adoption, the law specifies that the employee must be the spouse, civil partner or partner of the child’s adopter. The employee claiming Ordinary Paternity/ Adoption Leave must also have responsibility for the child’s upbringing or an expectation of doing so.

New Paternity Leave Rights – Additional Paternity Leave

New paternity leave rights introduced in April 2011 give eligible parents and adopters whose baby is due on or after April 3, 2011 – or matched in the case of adoption – the right to a minimum entitlement of one period of Additional Paternity Leave in addition to their existing entitlement to Ordinary Paternity Leave.

The minimum period of Additional Paternity Leave is two complete weeks. The maximum is 26 weeks. Additional Paternity Leave can be taken any time from 20 weeks after the date the child is born or placed, up to 12 months after that date. The employee must give eight weeks’ notice of their intention to take Additional Paternity Leave.

Entitlement to Paternity Leave – Additional Paternity Leave

Additional Paternity Leave is only available to an employee where the mother or adopter returns to work without exercising their full entitlement to Maternity Leave, Statutory Maternity Pay, Maternity Allowance, Adoption Leave or Statutory Adoption Pay. Guidance says they should have at least two weeks of this leave left.

The idea is that Additional Paternity Leave or Additional Adoption Leave gives the partner the option of taking up any untaken leave and pay.

Paternity Leave Rights

During Ordinary and Additional Paternity Leave and Ordinary and Additional Adoption Leave an employee is entitled to all the benefits of their employment terms except remuneration. For instance, a company car, gym membership etc.

Employees may work for their employer during Additional Paternity Leave for up to 10 days without bringing it to an end. These ‘Keeping in Touch Days’ are also available during Maternity Leave and Adoption Leave.

Protection from detriment and dismissal

Dismissal is automatically unfair if the reason relates to Ordinary or Additional Paternity Leave or Adoption Leave where the employee took, sought to take, or the employer thought they were likely to take Ordinary or Additional Paternity Leave or Adoption Leave. They will be deemed to have been dismissed unfairly unless the employer proves the dismissal was not due to the employee exercising Adoption or Paternity Leave Rights.

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Martin Searle Solicitors

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Founded in Brighton in 2004, Martin Searle Solicitors is an award-winning law firm providing specialist legal advice and support in employment law for employers and employees, as well as expert guidance and legal advice in community care law.

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