The right to statutory paternity leave and pay is available to an employee who is the partner of either a woman who has given birth or someone who is adopting a child.
However, to qualify for both leave and pay, the employee must first meet certain qualification criteria.
The right to paternity leave - births
An employee qualifies for statutory paternity leave (SPL) on the birth of a baby if they:
Have - or expect to have - responsibility for the baby's upbringing.
Are the biological father of the baby and/or the mother's husband or partner (including same-sex partner or civil partner). A partner is someone who lives with the mother of the baby in an enduring family relationship but is not an immediate relative.
In addition, they must:
Have at least 26 weeks' continuous employment with you ending with the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC) - the qualifying week.
Be working for you from the qualifying week up to the date of birth. If their contract ends before the birth, they do not qualify for SPL - unless they go on to work for an associated employer. If their contract ends after the birth, they retain their right to SPL (and pay if they qualify).
Have notified you of their intention to take SPL
Be taking the time off to support the mother and/or care for the baby.
You should treat the employee as having the necessary length of service if:
the baby is born earlier than the 14th week before the EWC
the birth hadn't occurred early, the employee would have been employed continuously by you for the 26 weeks
If you think the employee doesn't qualify for SPL but they dispute this, contact the Acas Helpline on Tel 08457 47 47 47.
SPL remains at two weeks regardless of the number of children resulting from a single pregnancy.
If an employee's wife or partner gives birth to a stillborn baby, they are still entitled to SPL - but only if the birth happens after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
If the stillbirth occurs before the end of the 24th week of pregnancy, you could allow the employee to take sick or compassionate leave instead.
Death of baby during or after the day of birth
If the baby is born alive but then later dies, the employee is still entitled to SPL.
Enhanced paternity leave
If you wish, you can have enhanced paternity leave arrangements to attract and retain employees.
For example, you could allow all employees to take paternity leave - regardless of their length of service.
You can offer these arrangements either as a contractual right or on a discretionary, case-by-case basis.
Employee notification of paternity leave - births
To qualify for statutory paternity leave (SPL), an employee should notify you no later than the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC) - or as soon as is reasonably practicable - of:
the expected date of the baby's birth
whether they wish to take one week's or two weeks' leave
when they want their SPL to start
The EWC is the week in which the expected date of the baby's birth falls - starting with the preceding Sunday and ending the following Saturday. If the birth date falls on a Sunday, that date is the first day in the EWC.
he employee does not have to give you any medical evidence of the pregnancy.
You do not have to give the employee confirmation of the end date of their SPL.
You may request this notification in writing.
Many employees will find it convenient to claim Statutory Paternity Pay at the same time.
If you receive this declaration for pay no later than the end of the 15th week before the EWC, the employee has complied with the leave notification requirements anyway.
Notification of the actual birth date
The employee should tell you the actual date of birth - and in writing if you request it. However, the employee does not have to give you any medical evidence of the birth