Employees have the right to time off to accompany a pregnant woman up to two antenatal care appointments, if the employee is the father of the baby, or the partner of the pregnant woman. There is no right to be paid for this time off and the employee can take a maximum of six and a half hours for each appointment.
Statutory Paternity Leave
Statutory Paternity Leave is currently two weeks.
To qualify for paternity leave you:
- must be an employee;
- must have been with your employer for 26 weeks by the 15th week before the start of the week when the baby is due or in cases of adoption the end of the week you are notified you are matched with your child; and
- must be taking the time off to support the mother or carer for the baby and intend to be fully involved in their upbringing.
You must also be either:
- the biological father of the child
- the mother's husband or partner (including same-sex relationships)
- the child's adopter or the partner of the adopter
Leave can commence only after the baby is born.
Some companies may have their own scheme for paternity leave which is usually included in the company staff handbook. Employees may choose to follow the statutory paternity leave arrangement instead of the company paternity leave scheme.
Statutory Paternity Pay
To qualify for statutory paternity pay the following must apply:
- you must be the biological father or adopter of the child or be the mother's (or adopter's) husband, partner or civil partner or have or expect to have responsibility for the child's upbringing;
- you must have been with your employer for 26 weeks by the 15th week before the start of the week before the baby is due or in cases of adoption the end of the week you are notified you, your wife, partner or civil partner are matched with your child;
- you must continue to work for that employer without a break up to the date the child is born or placed for adoption; and
- you must have had average weekly earnings over the lower earnings limit in the relevant period. See HMRC website for details of the current limit.
Paternity pay is paid for a maximum of two consecutive weeks at the lower rate of either 90% of average weekly earnings or a set figure - see HMRC website for further details.
Tax and national insurance will be deducted as usual.
Employers must continue to pay usual contributions into any relevant occupational pension schemes for the period that the employee receives any statutory or contractual paternity pay.