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Factsheet: Paternity Leave For Employees

Paternity Leave and parental rights for fathers and partners at work.

This factsheet is aimed at fathers, expectant fathers, and also partners of expectant mothers. If your partner is expecting or has recently had a baby and you are unsure of your rights at work, our factsheet will help.

  1. Time Off to attend Antenatal Appointments
  2. Emergency Time Off for Dependants
  3. Paternity Leave
  4. Additional Paternity Leave
  5. Redundancy during Additional Paternity Leave
  6. The Right to ask for Flexible Leave
  7. Parental Leave

Time Off to attend Antenatal Appointments

If you are an employee or agency worker, who has a qualifying relationship with the pregnant woman or her expectant child, you can take unpaid time off work to accompany her to up to two antenatal appointments.

If you are an employee this is a ” day one” right. If you work for an agency, you must have been doing the same job for at least twelve weeks, with the same hirer without any breaks between your assignments.

Emergency Time Off for Dependants

You will be entitled to take emergency time off if, for example:

  • You need to make arrangements for the care of a dependant who is ill or injured
  • A dependant falls ill, gives birth or is injured and needs your assistance
  • There is a sudden disruption of arrangements for the care of a dependant
  • There is an unexpected incident at school involving your child
  • If your dependant dies

You should let your employer know about the situation as soon as is reasonably practicable, and your employer should allow you to take the time that is necessary to deal with the emergency. Time off for dependants is usually unpaid.

Paternity Leave

Provided that you have been employed for 26 weeks or more prior to the 15th week before your baby is due – and provided that you have given notice 15 weeks before the due date – you are entitled to take up to two weeks’ paternity leave after your baby is born. This must be taken within 8 weeks of the birth.

During paternity leave you are entitled to the benefit of all of the terms and conditions of employment which would have applied had you not been absent, except for the terms and conditions relating to pay. Instead you will be entitled to receive statutory paternity pay which is currently £136.78 per week or 90% of your average weekly earnings if that is lower.

Additional Paternity Leave

If you meet the conditions for Paternity Leave, you will also be entitled to take Additional Paternity Leave of up to 26 weeks after your partner’s maternity leave has ended. This can be taken as a single period of leave or in multiples of weeks, between 20 and 52 after your baby’s birth. In effect, this allows families to “share” the 39 weeks’ maternity leave, transferring part of it to the father.

You must give your employer at least 8 weeks written notice before the date that you wish to start Additional Paternity Leave and/or receive Additional Statutory Paternity Pay. There are specific requirements about what that information the written notice must contain and the declaration that must be given by the mother.

Again, you are entitled to the benefit of all of the terms and conditions of employment which would have applied had you not been absent, except for terms and conditions relating to pay. You will be entitled to receive Additional Statutory Paternity Pay at the same rate as Statutory Paternity Pay, but only up until the 39th week after your partner’s maternity leave began.

You can work for up to 10 “Keeping in Touch” days without losing Additional Statutory Paternity Pay, although you and your employer will have to agree the rates of pay for any time that you work.

You are entitled to end your Additional Paternity Leave early but you must give 6 weeks’ notice. If you give insufficient notice your employer may postpone your return to work for up to a maximum of 6 weeks.

Redundancy during Additional Paternity Leave

You normally have the right to return to the same job after Additional Paternity Leave, or to a suitable alternative job on similar terms and conditions.

Employees on Additional Paternity Leave have special protection from redundancy. You have the same rights to be warned and consulted about the redundancy, but you must also be offered any suitable alternative vacancy and be given priority over and above any another employee who is also at risk of redundancy but not on maternity or paternity leave. The terms and conditions of any suitable alternative role must not be substantially less favourable than those of your previous job role.

The Right to ask for Flexible Working

All employees have the right to request flexible working. Employers must give proper consideration to the request using the required statutory procedures.

Parental Leave

If you are a parent with at least one year’s service, you are entitled to take up to 13 weeks’ parental leave per child (or 18 weeks for disabled children) prior to their 5th birthday. You must have given your employer at least 21 days’ written notice of the date that you wish to start any period of parental leave and you must say how much leave you want to take.

Your employer is allowed to ask you to postpone your parental leave if it would cause ‘undue disruption’ to the business. Your employer may also only allow you to take 4 weeks’ parental leave at one time. Parental leave is usually unpaid.

If you want to know more, contact the Martin Searle Solicitors employment team today on 01273 609911, or email info@ms-solicitors.co.uk.

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