Understanding Paternity Leave Entitlements - A Guide for Employers

from Silk Helix
Photograph of Jenefer Livings, Founder of Silk Helix Ltd
20 February 2024
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Paternity leave is a crucial aspect of supporting working parents in maintaining a healthy work-life balance while actively participating in the care of their newborn or newly adopted child. With effect from April 2024 changes to paternity leave entitlements will allow for more flexibility for new parents.

What is Paternity Leave?

Eligible employees can take up to two weeks of statutory paternity leave paid at statutory paternity pay. To be eligible for leave and pay, employees need six months’ continuous service. Statutory paternity leave is also available to the second person adopting a child (with the primary adopter being eligible for adoption leave).

What is changing in relation to paternity leave?

With effect from April 2024, employees will be able to take paternity leave at any point in the first year (a change from the first eight weeks) and will be able to split it up into two separate blocks of one week, e.g. taking one week when the baby is born and then a second week when the baby is 9 months old.

The notice requirements are reduced from 15 weeks before the birth to only having to give 28 days’ notice of the leave they intend to take. However, a new father/partner must still give notice that they are entitled to paternity leave at least 15 weeks before birth.

Employees will be required to sign a declaration that they are eligible for statutory paternity leave and that they are using the leave for the purpose it is intended, to care for the child or support their partner.

What is not changing?

Paternity leave remains at a total of 2 weeks paid at statutory paternity pay and is only open to employees with six month’s continuous service by the 15th week before the baby is due. There is no ability for employers to turn down or postpone periods of paternity leave.

Paternity leave cannot be taken after Shared Parental Leave, therefore periods of paternity leave the employee wishes to take must be used up first.

Implications for Employers:

Employers should encourage open communication, this will encourage those eligible for paternity leave to give notice as far in advance as possible helping employers to manage the absence.

It is essential that current policies are reviewed and updated to reflect the changes and ensure employees are aware of their full entitlements to leave.

While this guide covers the basics, every situation has its own complexities so you should always seek professional advice.
We can help, so book a Free Advice Call .

Article last updated: 20 February 2024

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