Statutory Paternity Leave & Paternity Pay

The right to paid paternity leave under the Employment Act 2002 is in addition to the 18 unpaid weeks' parental leave entitlement. The entitlement is one or two weeks paid leave, (Ordinary Paternity Leave) or a further 26 weeks paid leave (in the case of Additional Paternity Leave).

The leave is paid at the same rate as Statutory Maternity Pay, £184.03 per week (or 90% of the employee's average weekly earnings if this is less). An employer is entitled to reclaim Paternity Pay from the government.

Ordinary Paternity Leave can be taken in a single block of either one week or two weeks. It can be taken after the birth of a child or the placement of a child for adoption. The leave must be taken within 56 days of the expected week of childbirth or the actual birth, (if this is earlier).

Additional Paternity Leave of up to 26 weeks can be taken at any time within the period beginning 20 weeks after the child is born (or adopted) and ending 12 months after that date.  

It can only be taken in the mother's or adopter's maternity or adoption leave period, and they must have returned to work.

Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave is available to employees whether they are the biological father or the mother's partner or husband, but not the biological father. It applies to same-sex couples and civil partners.

Paternity Leave is available to an employee who has completed a period of at least 26 weeks qualifying service with the same employer, ending with the 15th week before the child is expected to be born (or is matched in the case of adoption). Additional conditions are that the mother must have given appropriate notification and qualifies for Statutory Maternity Leave.

An employee is entitled to the same job following paternity leave and will be protected from unfair dismissal related to paternity leave.

Employers can reclaim Statutory Paternity Pay in the same way as for Statutory Maternity Pay. If an employer fails to pay Statutory Paternity Pay, HMRC will become responsible for the payment. This is also the case if the employer becomes insolvent.

They will also be entitled to the benefit of their terms and conditions and a right to return to the same job.



In the case of bereavement, employees will be entitled to Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay at  £184.03 per week (or 90% of the employee's average weekly earnings if this is less).

Statutory Adoption Leave & Adoption Pay

Employment Law