Employment Legislation

Paternity Leave and Pay


If a member of your staff requests paternity leave, they must be taking time off to help look after the child and be one of the following:

  • The father
  • The husband or partner of the mother (or adopter). This include same-sex partners.
  • The child’s adopter
  • The intended parent (if they are having a baby through a surrogacy agreement)

In order to qualify for Paternity Leave they must also:

  • Give the correct notice
  • Have been continuously employed for at least 26 weeks up to any day in the “qualifying week” (15 weeks before the expected week of childbirth

And in order to qualify for Paternity Pay they must also:

  • Be employed up to the date of birth
  • Earn at least £116 per week
Paternity Leave

Eligible employees can take either 1 or 2 weeks paternity leave, however they must take all of the leave in one go. A “week” is deemed to be the equivalent number of days as their normal working week. Leave cannot start before the day of birth and must end within 56 days of the birth date.

Paternity Pay

Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) is set at £145.18 per week, or 90% of your average weekly pay, whichever is lower. Tax and National Insurance need to be deducted.

Reclaiming SPP Payments

In common with Statutory Maternity Pay, as an employer you can usually reclaim some, or all of the SPP payments that you make. Larger employers can usually reclaim 92% of SPP payments. Smaller employers can usually reclaim 103% of SPP payments if their business qualifies for Small Employers’ Relief. You get this if you paid £45,000 or less in Class 1 National Insurance (ignoring any reductions like Employment Allowance) in the last tax year before the “qualifying week” (15 weeks before the expected week of child birth). This can also apply to parents who are adopting. More information can be found on the Government website – see Related Topics opposite.

Employment rights

The employee’s rights continue during paternity leave and they will continue to accrue holiday entitlement during this period.

Just like Maternity Leave, the regulations relating to Paternity Pay and Leave are complex. It’s hardly surprising that most employers need expert advice.

If you are finding that employment issues are becoming a real headache, get in touch. We can help you.