Gwenan White | Trainee Solicitor

Your Right to Paternity Pay and Leave

Jackson Boyd are delighted to confirm that Dave Berry, Partner and Head of EL/PL and Clinical Negligence teams, and his wife welcomed their second son in January 2023.

In light of the good news, Sarah Thompson Robertson in the Employment Team has been reviewing the UK’s approach to paternity pay and leave.

Dave Berry, Partner and Head of EL/PL and Clinical Negligence, with his newborn son

Your Right to Paternity Pay and Leave

After an increase in the mid-2000s, the number of men using their right to paternity leave has stalled. In recent years, it declined from a peak of 221,000 in 2016-17. Limited take-up of paternity leave is said to be due to the low rate of Statutory Paternity Pay.

The current statutory entitlement is one to two (consecutive) weeks ordinary paternity leave at a weekly rate of £156.66 (or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). The period of leave must end within 56 days of the birth or placement of adoption.

In order to be eligible for paternity leave, you must be an employee, give your employer the correct notice and have been continuously employed by your employer for at least 26 weeks up to any day in the ‘qualifying week’ (15th week before the baby is due) or ‘matching week’ (for adoptions this is either: the end of the week you’re matched within the child (UK Adoptions) and the date the child enters the UK or when you want your pay to start (overseas adoptions)).

In order to be eligible for paternity pay while on paternity leave, in addition to the above requirements you must be employed by your employer up to the date of birth or adoptions and earn at least £123 per week (before tax).

To be eligible for paternity leave and pay if you are using a surrogate to have a baby you must also be a couple and be responsible for the child (with your partner).

As an alternative to paternity leave, you and your partner may be able to get Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) if you are having a baby, using a surrogate to have a baby, adopting a child or fostering a child who you’re planning to adopt.

The Employment Team at Jackson Boyd specialises in helping workers who believe they have been treated unfairly as a result of exercising their right to parental, adoption or shared parental leave. We also specialise in assisting employers who require their policies on parental leave to be reviewed or amended.  While there are legal regulations in place which sets out the statutory guidelines to be followed, it is of course open to any employer to enhance paternity leave in the form of contractual rights or by way of a policy. We are able to assist employers with drafting such terms in their employment contracts, should they wish to do so.

If you require any advice or assistance please contact us online by clicking here or speak to a member of our specialist team on 0333 060 2713.

Gwenan White

Gwenan White

Employment Law Team

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