Statutory Paternity Leave
Eligible employees can choose to take either 1 week or 2 consecutive weeks’ leave - even if they have more than one child (eg twins).
Leave can’t start before the birth. The start date must be one of the following:
- the actual date of birth
- an agreed number of days after the birth
- an agreed number of days after the expected week of childbirth
Leave must finish within 56 days of the birth (or due date if the baby is early). The start and end dates are different if the employee is adopting.
Statutory Paternity Pay
Statutory Paternity Pay for eligible employees is either £138.18 a week or 90% of their average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).
Paternity pay can only be paid while the employee is on paternity leave. Tax and National Insurance need to be deducted.
Calculate an employee’s paternity leave and pay using the maternity and paternity calculator.
Some employment types, like agency workers, directors and educational workers, have different rules for entitlement.
Extra leave or pay
Employees can get more leave or pay if:
- their partner returns to work and they qualify for Additional Paternity Leave and Pay
- your company scheme offers more
You must make sure your paternity leave and pay policies are clear and easily accessible to staff.
Leave for antenatal appointments
Employees can take unpaid leave to accompany a pregnant woman to antenatal appointments if they are:
- the baby’s father
- the expectant mother’s spouse or civil partner
- in a long term relationship with the expectant mother
They can accompany the woman to 2 appointments of up to 6 and a half hours each.
If the baby dies
Employees still qualify for leave and pay if the baby is either:
- stillborn from 24 weeks of pregnancy
- born alive at any point in the pregnancy but later dies
An employee’s employment rights (like the right to pay, holidays and returning to a job) are protected during paternity leave. You still have to pay Statutory Paternity Pay even if you stop trading.