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Paternity Leave – The Facts

10 Jun 2014

Meeting your new baby is magical. Even though you’ll probably be sleep deprived and a little overwhelmed, the joy after the nine-month wait to see their face is hard to beat. As a new dad, it’s crucial to bond with your baby from the start, through touch, eye contact and voice. It’s very rewarding and, quite frankly, fun. Sadly, a recent survey conducted by Opinion Matters revealed that around 40% of men decide not to take paternity leave, with many citing social stigma and fears about their employer’s opinion as the main reason for their choice.

UK Paternity Leave Facts

With new government regulations on the horizon to increase new fathers’ access to parental leave, there has never been a better time to celebrate being a working dad, and take the time you’re entitled to for these important bonding activities. Here are some key facts about paternity leave so you know exactly how you can take the time to share in the happiness a baby can bring, and catch up on a little missed sleep.

Eligibility

You must

  • have been with the same employer for 26 weeks by the time the mother-to-be has 15 weeks to go
  • be classed as an employee, and be on the payroll
  • notify your employer in advance, declaring your eligibility as well as providing them with the due date

 

What you get

  • Two weeks paid paternity leave. You can also decide to take just one - the choice is yours
  • The leave must start after the baby is born, either on the day of birth or on a day agreed with your employer. This must be within 56 days of the birth
  • £138.18 per week, or 90% of your average weekly earnings – whichever is lower

Additional Paternity Pay and Leave

After the baby is 20 weeks old, if your partner wishes to return to work, you can take over their paid leave – this is called Additional Paternity Pay and Leave, and it must be taken in one go. Additional Paternity Pay will stop when Maternity Leave Pay would have stopped, meaning that if you decide to wait longer to take Additional Paternity Leave, some of it may be unpaid.

The Future of Paternity Leave

New regulations have recently been drafted to change parental leave rules. For babies born after the 5th April 2015, parents can choose to take 52 weeks leave in total. This means that they can share leave in a far more equal way than ever before.

After the first six weeks, the mother will be able to return to work if she chooses to, allowing the father to take over the remaining leave. The father will still be entitled to the first two weeks alongside the mother. They can also choose to divide proportions of it between them in week or multiple week blocks, giving both parents the opportunity to spend time with their newborn and support each other in their careers as much as they both want.

Head over to gov.uk for even more specifics on the rights you have as a working father to paternity leave.

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