Fathers or "fathers to be" (it is important to see the definition of father below) now have rights to paid paternity leave if they meet certain conditions. As an employer you need to be aware of these conditions so that you can ensure you comply with your obligations when your employees qualify.
Paternity Leave Rights
A father is entitled to paid statutory paternity leave if they meet the following criteria:
- they are an employee with a contract of employment
- they are the biological father, the mother's husband or partner, the adopter or the partner of the adoptor
- they have been employed for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the baby is due (or if they are an adopter the end of the week when you were matched with the child)
- they will be fully involved in bringing up the child
How Much Paternity Leave?
The basic entitlement is for one or two weeks leave with the leave being taken in one period. The leave can be taken anytime from the day that the baby is born but it must have concluded within 56 days from the date of birth.
How Much Paternity Pay
Statutory paternity pay for employees with average weekly earnings of £90 or more is £123.06 or 90 per cent of your employee's average weekly earnings if they fall below this level. However, you can opt to pay more in your contract of employment.
Time Off For Antenatal Appointments
There is no right for a father to take paid time off for these appointments, although you can allow you staff to take paid or unpaid leave to attend these classes or appointments.
What If An Employee Is Claiming That Their Paternity Rights Are Denied?
You should try and resolve the matter with your employee, but if legal action is threatened you should seek early legal advice.
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