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Paternity Leave – what are the rules?

Last week, we had Father's Day, the day that honours fathers and celebrates fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society.

Working fathers, including adoptive fathers, have the right to paternity leave and since April 2015, shared parental leave. According to the Department for Business, take up of shared parental leave could be as low as 2%, and the government plans to better inform parents about the policy going forward.

Fathers are entitled to 1 or 2 weeks of paternity leave when the baby arrives or when they adopt a child.

To qualify for paternity leave, employees:

  • need to have been employed for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the due date, or by the time they are matched with a child for adoption
  • must be the biological father or adopter of the child, or be the partner of the baby's mother and responsible for the child's upbringing
  • must have given you the proper notice to take paternity leave - 15 weeks before the baby’s due date, or within 7 days of being matched with a child for adoption. Paternity leave must be taken within 56 days of the birth or adoption.

Shared Parental Leave is a legal entitlement and enables eligible parents to choose how to share the care of their child during the first year of birth or adoption. Its purpose is to give parents more flexibility in considering how to best care for, and bond with, their child. All eligible employees have a statutory right to take Shared Parental Leave. There may also be an entitlement to some Shared Parental Pay.

For more information on Paternity or Shared Parental Leave, contact us on 01924 827869.

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