You must have worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks by the ‘matching week’. For adoption this is either:
- the end of the week you’re matched with the child (UK adoptions)
- the date the child enters the UK or when you want your pay to start (overseas adoptions)
You must also meet the other eligibility conditions for paternity leave or pay.
Start and end dates - Paternity Leave
Your period of Paternity Leave can start:
- on the date of placement
- an agreed number of days after the date of placement
- on the date the child arrives in the UK or an agreed number of days after this (overseas adoptions only)
- the day the child’s born or the day after if you’re working that day (surrogate parents)
Leave must be taken within 56 days of the date of placement or the child’s arrival in the UK (overseas adoptions).
You must give your employer 28 days’ notice if you want to change your start date.
How to claim - Paternity Leave or Pay
You must use form SC4 (or your employer’s own version) for:
- leave - no later than 7 days of your co-adopter or partner being matched with a child
- pay - 28 days before you want your pay to start
For overseas adoptions the form and notice period is different. The process is explained on form SC5.
Proof of adoption
You must give your employer proof of adoption to qualify for Additional Paternity Pay. Proof isn’t needed for Paternity Leave unless your employer asks for it.
Proof can be a letter from your adoption agency or the matching certificate.
You’ll need to provide this information within 28 days.
If you use a surrogate to have a baby, the baby must be due on or after 5 April 2015 for you to be eligible for Paternity Pay and Leave.
- be in a couple
- be responsible for the child (with your partner)
- have worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (known as the ‘qualifying week’)
At least 15 weeks before the due date, tell your employer when the baby is due and when you want to start your leave - they may ask for this in writing.
Your employer may ask for a written statement to confirm you intend to apply for a parental order in the 6 months after the child’s birth. You must sign this in the presence of a legal professional.
You can’t get Paternity Leave if you take Shared Parental Leave.