The rules surrounding paternity leave for parents of children due after 3 April 2011 have changed. The right to take up to two weeks paternity leave still applies, yet the wider maternity leave entitlement of 26 paid weeks off can now be shared between the mother and father, all in a bid to enable fathers greater opportunity to be involved in raising their child.
So, what do the Additional Paternity Leave (APL) rules say?
- To qualify for APL, the father must have completed 26 weeks’ continuous employment by the end of the 15th week before the Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC).
- The mother must have returned to work at the point at which APL starts. However, please note – the mother taking holiday or unpaid leave will be considered a ‘return to work’.
A new father wishing to take APL is required to notify their employer of certain information at least 8 weeks before they wish to take the leave
- Between 2 and 26 weeks’ APL may be taken
- It should be taken in multiples of complete weeks and as one period
- APL cannot be taken earlier than 20 weeks after the child is born and should be taken before the child turns 1.
- Additional Statutory Paternity Pay (ASPP) should be paid if the mother / main adopter has returned to work with at least 2 weeks of her maternity allowance or Statutory Maternity Pay unused.
Review and update your policies to reflect these changes and ensure your employees are kept up-to-date with their rights and obligations.
And don’t forget, this entitlement also applies to those couples choosing to adopt a child.