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Paternity Leave and Additional Paternity Leave

Since 3rd April 2011, both ordinary and additional paternity leave can be taken by employees meeting certain criteria.


To qualify for ordinary paternity leave, you must:

  • have been working for your employer for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the beginning of the week when your baby is due
  • be the child's biological father or be the mother's husband or partner (including a mother's partner in a same-sex relationship)
  • be the child's adopter
  • be fully involved in the child's upbringing and be taking the time off to support the mother or carer of the baby
  • take one or two weeks together and not as odd days
  • tell your employer in writing at least 15 weeks before the beginning of the week when the baby is due, or within seven days of being told by the adoption agency that you have been matched with an adoptive child.

Ordinary paternity leave cannot start before the baby is born. It has to finish within 56 days of the baby being born or, if the baby arrives early, within 56 days for the first day of that week. You can still take paternity leave if the baby is unfortunately stillborn after 24 weeks' of pregnancy. Ordinary statutory paternity pay is paid for up to two consecutive weeks, depending on how long you choose to take ordinary paternity leave for, or is paid at 90 per cent of your average weekly earnings, if that is less.

Additional paternity leave is for a maximum of 26 weeks. If your partner has returned to work, the leave can be taken between 20 weeks and one year after your child is born or adopted.

To take additional paternity leave, you must have an employment contract, and have been working for your employer for at least 26 weeks by:

  • the end of the 15th week before the start of the week when the baby is due
  • the end of the week you are matched with a child if adopting within the UK
  • the date your child enters Great Britain for the purposes of adoption if adopting from overseas.

To qualify for additional paternity leave you must be taking the time off to care for the child, the child's mother or adopter and must have:

  • been entitled to one or more of the following - Statutory Maternity Leave, Statutory Maternity Pay, Maternity
  • Allowance or Statutory Adoption Leave or Pay
  • have started working again so that any relevant pay has stopped.

Furthermore, to qualify for additional paternity leave you must write to your employer at least eight weeks before the start of the leave. The letter must include:

  • the expected date of the baby's birth or date of notification of being matched for adoption
  • the actual date of baby's birth, or placement for adoption
  • the start date of the Additional Paternity leave and pay
  • your relationship to the mother, and that leave is being taken to care for the child.

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