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Paternity leave

by cheree ,
Paternity leave© Jupiter

Who's entitled to paternity leave and when can it be taken? Here's our guide to the ins and outs of paternity leave.

Who can take paternity leave?

A man can take paternity leave if he:

- is an employee (self-employed people, agency workers and sub-contractors don’t get paternity leave);

- has worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the baby is due;
- is the biological father or the mother’s husband/partner (including same-sex relationships), the child's adoptive father or the partner of an adoptive mother;

- will be fully involved in the baby's upbringing.

Even if your partner doesn't qualify for paternity leave, his employer may be prepared to give him some time off, or he could take paid holiday.

When can paternity leave be taken?

New dads can take one or two consecutive weeks' leave (not odd days) after the birth. He must inform his employer in writing to qualify for leave. This must be done 15 weeks before your due week.

He can choose to start paternity leave on any day of the week (but not before the baby is born), but it has to finish within 56 days of the birth. However, if the baby is born before the week it was due, paternity leave must be taken within 56 days of the first day of that week.

Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP)

If your partner earns £97 or more before tax per week, he is entitled to Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) for one or two consecutive weeks. He will be paid £128.73 a week or 90% of his weekly earnings if this is less.


Some companies have their own schemes, but your partner can always choose the statutory paternity leave arrangement if this suits him better. And don’t forget that his rights to paternity leave are additional to his normal holiday allowance.

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