FAQs On The Long Awaited Amendments To Statutory Paternity Leave

Recent amendments to Statutory Paternity Leave now allow employees to take two weeks of leave in one or two separate blocks within 52 weeks after childbirth or adoption, offering greater flexibility. Notice requirements have also been adjusted for more convenient planning.
UK Employment and HR
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This April has seen a wave of new family friendly rights come into force. Amongst these, is the long awaited amendments to Statutory Paternity Leave. Whilst some argue that this leave still has a long way to go, the changes certainly offer more flexibility for new parents.

The changes can be a bit confusing at first glance, so to help get to grips with them and what they mean for you or your organisation, we've set out the below easy guide.

Who can take Paternity Leave?

To be eligible for statutory paternity leave you must be:

  • An Employee
  • Be continuously employed for 26 weeks ending 15 weeks before the expected due date or placement date for adoption
  • Have, or expect to have responsibility for the child
  • Be the biological father of the child, or be married to or the partner of the mother or adopter of the child

How much leave do you get?

You can get up to two weeks statutory Paternity Leave. The purpose of the leave must be to care for the child.

Does this need to be taken all together?

No. Under the old law you used to have to take all Paternity leave in one continuous block. Now, employees have a choice. The leave can be taken:

  • In one block of two weeks
  • Or in separate blocks of one week each

When can the leave be taken?

The leave can now be taken at any time within 52 weeks after the child's birth or placement. This is a big change from the previous 56 days that parents used to have to take paternity leave.

This means that it is available for the year after estimated week of childbirth, or actual birth/placement (whichever is later).

Paternity leave still cannot start before the actual birth or placement, but can start on any day after the birth/placement, provided the correct notice has been given.

What notice is required?

This is another slight change that has come in with the new law. Now, employees must give notice of their intention to take paternity leave by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth, or within 7 days of the agency confirming the placement date for adoption. They do not however have to set out at that stage when they would like the leave to start or the duration.

Instead, employees have to give written notice of this at least 28 before the date they want to take leave, for each block of leave the intend to take.

We recommend that employers update their paternity leave policies to ensure that these big changes are captured. If you would like assistance with this, and with updating polices for all the new changes for April 2024, please get in touch.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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