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Employees with 26 weeks continuous service at the point of the 15th week before the child is expected to be born who are also the biological father, or the mother’s husband/partner or the adopter of the child and who has or expects to have responsibility for the child’s upbringing will be, subject to giving appropriate notification and self certification, entitled to paternity leave.

The employee applying for paternity leave and pay must complete the appropriate government form at least 15 weeks before the baby is due and provide this to their employer.

‘Ordinary paternity leave’ consists of 2 weeks to be taken in blocks of a week within 56 days of the birth of the child for the purposes of caring for the child or supporting the mother or adoptive parent in the case of adoption. The entitlement is to Statutory Paternity Leave (SPL) and Pay (SPP), with the rate set each year by the government. In practice, many employers prefer to offer SPL on normal terms and conditions.

The employee can also take unpaid leave to accompany their pregnant partner to two antenatal appointments (up to 6.5 hours each) if eligible.

Fathers and partners of mothers of babies due on or after 5 April 2015 are entitled to statutory shared parental leave if they meet certain requirements. The right is also available to adoptive parents of children who are placed for adoption on or after 5 April 2015. Further information can be found in the Shared Parental Leave A-Z

Typical employment law pitfalls

As an employer, it is important that you ensure your employee is fully informed of what is required of them, including any forms that need completing. Family Friendly processes are often a minefield of potential issues so it is key that correct processes are followed to reduce the risk to a business.

Further resources:

Statutory Additional Paternity Leave (SAPL) and Pay Self Certification form

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