Entitlement to Paternity Leave

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To be eligible to receive paternity leave, an employee must satisfy a number of conditions including:
  • having responsibility for the upbringing of the child;
  • being the biological father of the child or being married to or the civil or cohabiting partner of the child’s mother or adopter;
  • be taking the leave to look after the child or to support the child’s mother or adopter; and
  • must have worked continuously for the employer for 26 weeks at the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth or, in the case of adoption, must have worked for the employer for 26 weeks at the week in which the child’s adopter is notified as having been matched with the child.
Employees may take up to two weeks’ paternity leave to care for the child following the birth or adoption, or to support the child’s mother or adopter. Paternity leave can be taken as one week or two consecutive weeks but cannot be taken as odd days.

It is possible to start paternity leave on any day of the week on or following the birth of the child or placement for adoption but has to be completed within 56 days of the actual date of birth or adoption. If the child is born prematurely, paternity leave can be taken at any time within the period from the actual date of childbirth to up to 56 days following the first day of the expected week of childbirth.

Employees will be entitled to receive Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) during paternity leave and their contract of employment remains in force during that period so will continue to accrue holiday entitlement and all other contractual benefits.

Employees should notify their employer if they wish to take paternity leave by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth. In the case of an adopted child, the employee should notify the employer no later than seven days after the date on which they received notification of the match with the child.

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