Tags – Overview of Paternity Leave

Whether your partner gives birth, you adopt a child or have a baby by surrogate, fathers are entitled to paternity leave or pay so that you can help to look after your new arrival.

Depending on your circumstance, you may be eligible for:

  • 1 to 2 weeks paid leave
  • Paternity pay
  • Shared parental leave and pay 

Employment rights are protected whilst on paternity leave, which includes pay rises, accrued holiday and the right to return to work.

In addition, you can get time off to accompany your partner to 2 antenatal appointments.

In the case of adoption, you may take time off to attend 2 adoption appointments once you’ve been matched with a child.


Regarding leave, you can choose to take either 1 or 2 weeks and it must be taken in one go, once your new addition has arrived within the first 56 days.

In addition, you will need to give your employer notice that you want to take paternity leave – should give at least 15 weeks notice.

In relation to appointments, you can take up to 6 and a half hours for each one; it’s up to your employer to give you longer.

Lastly, if you are an agency worker, you’ll need to be employed for 12 weeks before you qualify for paternity leave.

Shared Parental Leave

With shared parental leave, you can share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay between yourself and your partner – which needs to be taken within the first year.

As opposed to paternity leave, you can choose to take shared parental leave in separate blocks or take it all in one go.


Paternity pay is paid at a statutory weekly rate of £151.97 or 90% of your average earnings – whichever is lower.

Note, any money paid to you will be in the same way you receive your wages, e.g. monthly or weekly and both tax and national insurance will be deducted.

Typically, the money is paid whilst you’re on leave and your employer should confirm the start and end dates for your paternity pay once you’ve claimed for it.

In some instances, you may get more pay if the company you work for has a paternity scheme – but they cannot offer you less than the statutory amount.

Will This Change?

Recently, Ed Miliband has called for paternity leave to last for at least 12 weeks in an attempt to challenge established gender roles.

Moreover, he says the current system in place for parental leave encourages a “men at work women at home” culture.

Currently, men only receive two weeks of pay. “Our ambition should be to build a world where men engage equally in the caring that has historically been done by women, and in so doing reorder the values of work, family and love so that work does not always come first”, he explains.

Arguably, Miliband’s proposed paternity leave will be a leap in the right direction and a positive step towards a human-centric approach all businesses should adopt in the workplace.

Moreover, Miliband believes an equal parental leave will benefit women in the workplace and help to narrow the gender pay gap.

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