New paternity rights from 2011

18 September 2009

From April 2011, fathers will be entitled to take six months’ paternity leave in the second six months of their child’s life – so long as the mother has returned to work.

The government had initially planned to extend statutory maternity pay (SMP) from 39 to 52 weeks at the same time as increasing paternity rights, which will allow parents to share up to six months parental leave after the baby’s first six months.

But the government confirmed a date for extending SMP had not yet been set due to financial restraints, while new parental leave ‘sharing’ plans would come into force in April 2011.

The Fatherhood Institute has warned that take-up of extended paternity leave rights will be low under the new arrangements.

For an outline of how the new system will work, including comment from FI chief executive Rob Williams, read this summary in Personnel Today.

To read our proposals for parental leave, click here.