What are my rights to paternity leave?

New fathers in the UK are now entitled to 2 weeks paternity leave on the birth of their child. The leave is paid at the rate of £100 per week, and you have to have been employed fo 26 weeks before the 15th week before the due date to qualify. Read on for more information.

Full information on the paternity leave scheme, and a guide to find out whether you are eligible, can be found at the government’s TIGER website – www.tiger.gov.uk

Employers wishing to find out about the scheme and how it affects them can get information from the same website.

How long is Paternity Leave?

Paternity leave can be up to 2 weeks and can only be taken in one block (although you may be able to negotiate a more flexible approach individually with your manager). It is up to you whether you wish to take 1 or 2 weeks leave, if you choose to take 2 weeks your employer can insist that they are taken together.

When can I take Paternity Leave?

Paternity leave cannot start before the actual date of birth and can only be taken during the 56 days after the actual date of birth, or if the baby is born early, up to 56 days after the expected date of birth.

When should I notify my employer?

If you wish to take paternity leave you must notify your employer of your intention to take paternity leave at the latest during the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth or if this is not possible as soon as is reasonably practicable.

If you wish to change the start date & / or the amount of time to be taken, you must give your employer 28 days notice or if this is not reasonably practicable, as soon as is reasonably practicable.

How do I qualify for paternity leave? 

  • You must be the biological father, married to the mother or partner of the mother (by partner they mean a person whether of a different sex or the same sex who lives with the mother in an enduring family relationship but is not an immediate relative).
  • Your are taking the time off to support the mother and/or care for the new child.
  • Your must have been continuously employed by your employer for 26 weeks ending with the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (this is called the qualifying week ) 
  • Your continued to be employed by your employer from the qualifying week up until the birth of the baby. 
  • To receive paternity pay, your employees’ average weekly earnings must be at least as much as the lower earnings limit for National Insurance contributions, (about £77 per week)

How do I claim paternity leave? 

Give your employer notice of your intention to take paternity leave and the start date and whether you will be taking 1 or 2 weeks off, in or before the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth or as soon as it is reasonably practicable. At this time you may be asked by your employer to complete a self certificate. 

Give your employer a self certificate confirming that you will be taking paternity leave 28 days before you wish your paternity pay to begin. If you have already given your employer a completed self certificate for paternity leave you do not need to submit it again for paternity pay. 

You can download the self certificate in PDF format at the bottom of this page.

What do I do if I think my employer is wrong? 

This is a link for instructions from the government on what to do if you think your employer is wrong.