DAVID ROYDEN - EMPLOYMENT SOLICITOR
UK EMPLOYMENT LAW

David Royden is a Partner with Laytons Solicitors and Head of Employment Law, Manchester, UK

Laytons Solicitors is a national law practice specialising in all aspects of Company and Commercial Law

Laytons Solicitors, 22 St John Street, Manchester M3 4EB.
Tel: +44 (0) 161 834 2100
Fax: +44 (0) 161 834 6862

Offices at London, Manchester and Guildford, UK

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PATERNITY LEAVE AND PATERNITY PAY

ENTITLEMENT

A male employee is entitled to take paternity leave and claim paternity pay if:

  • he has worked continuously for the employer for at least 26 weeks at the end of the 15th week before the Expected Week of Childbirth (“the EWC”) and remains continuously employed up to the date of birth;
  • he has provided the information required by the employer for those employees wishing to take paternity leave;
  • he is the biological father of the child and he has, or expects to have, responsibility for the upbringing of the child in conjunction with the child’s mother; or
  • he is married to or is the partner of the child’s mother (he is the mother’s partner if he lives with her in an enduring relationship) and he has, or expects to have, the main responsibility (apart from any responsibility of the mother) for the upbringing of the child.

ACTION

The following information must be notified to the employer by the end of the 15th week before the EWC or, if that deadline is for some reason not reasonably practicable, then as soon as reasonably practicable:

  • confirmation that the employee is the biological father of the child and will have responsibility for the upbringing of the child in conjunction with the mother or if he is married to the child’s mother or he is living with her in an enduring relationship and has, or expects to have, the main responsibility (apart from any responsibility of the mother) for the upbringing of the child;
  • confirmation of the EWC;
  • confirmation of the date on which he intends to commence paternity leave (this confirmation must be given in writing);
  • confirmation on whether he intends to take one or two full week’s paternity leave;
  • if so required by the employer, a certificate from a registered medical practitioner or a registered midwife stating the EWC;
  • confirmation when the baby was actually born, as soon as reasonably practicable after the birth.

If a male employee fails to provide the above information by the deadline specified, and without a good reason for any delay in doing so, he may forfeit his right to paternity leave.

The employer will require the employee to complete a self-certificate form as evidence of his entitlement to claim paternity leave and/or paternity pay.

LENGTH OF PATERNITY LEAVE

If the male employee satisfies the qualifying conditions and complies with the action required by the employer he will be entitled to choose to take either 1 week or 2 consecutive weeks’ paternity leave.

Paternity leave must be taken in blocks of not less than one or two full weeks. Any lesser period of paternity leave taken will be deemed to constitute a full block of entitlement. Only one period of leave will be permitted irrespective of whether more than one child is born as a result of the same pregnancy.

WHEN PATENITY LEAVE MAY BE TAKEN

An male employee may choose to start his paternity leave:

  • from the date of the child’s birth;
  • from a chosen number of days or weeks after the date of the child’s birth;
  • from a chosen date.

Paternity leave must be taken within 56 days of the actual date of birth of the child or, if the child is born early, within 56 days after the end of the EWC.

STATUTORY MATERNITY PAY

If an employee qualifies for paternity leave and chooses to take it, he is entitled to Statutory Paternity Pay (“SPP”) during his paternity leave provided he has average earnings at or above the lower earnings limit for the payment of national insurance contributions for the 8 weeks before the end of the 15th week before the EWC, and has given a minimum of 28 days notice of your right to claim SPP before it is due to be paid.

If an employee is entitled to SPP he will be paid the lesser of ninety per cent (90%) of his average weekly earnings or the standard rate, for the period of paternity leave which you actually take.

RIGHT TO RETURN

If an employee takes paternity leave for a period of 1 or 2 weeks he is entitled to return to the same job which he carried out prior to his absence.

CONTRACTUAL BENEFITS

A male employee is entitled to the benefit of his normal terms and conditions of employment, save for terms relating to salary (unless his contract states otherwise), throughout his paternity leave. He cannot be paid SPP at the same time as Statutory Sick Pay (“SSP”). If he is unwell before starting his period of paternity leave, he should postpone it.

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