An Employer’s Guide to Paid Paternity Leave

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Currently in the UK employers must offer new fathers two weeks’ paid paternity leave. This leave is to be taken directly after the birth of the child (usually in one block) to allow new fathers to support the mother in the first few weeks after birth and to bond with their new baby. The current benefit is available to employees who have worked 26 consecutive weeks before the expected date of birth or adoption, and you must be earning at least £120 a week (before tax). The statutory weekly rate of Paternity pay is currently £151.20, or 90% of your average weekly earnings depending on which is lower. Any money you get is paid in the same way as your wages meaning tax and national insurance will be deducted.

You must give your employer 28 days’ notice if you want to change your start date.

Who can claim?

To take time off to look after a child you must be one of the following:

  • The father
  • The husband or partner of the mother
  • The child adopter
  • The intended parent (if you are having a baby through a surrogacy arrangement)

You must also:

  • Be an employee
  • Give the correct notice
  • Have been continuously employed by your employer for at least 26 weeks prior to the birth or adoption.

How to claim

At least 15 weeks before the baby is due inform you employer of:

  • The due date
  • When you want to start the leave
  • If you want 1 or 2 weeks leave

Adoption and surrogacy

Slightly different rules apply when you are taking paternity leave for an adoption or surrogacy.

To be eligible you must have worked 26 consecutive weeks before either:

  • The end of the week you’re matched with the child
  • The date the child enters the UK or when you want to start pay.

You can start your paternity leave:

  • On the date of the placement
  • An agreed number of days after the date of placement
  • On the date the child arrives into the UK or an agreed number of days after this
  • The day the child is born or the day after if you’re working that day (surrogate parents)

Proof of adoption must be given to your employer to qualify for paternity pay.

Further information can be found from Paternity pay and leave.

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