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How does my partner get paternity leave and paternity pay?

UK law entitles the father of a newborn baby to take a certain amount of paternity leave with a certain amount of paternity pay without it affecting their employment rights, although qualifying criteria can seem complex.

In order to qualify for ordinary paternity leave, a person must first of all be either the biological father, or the husband or civil partner of the child’s mother, or the child’s adopter, or the husband or civil partner of the child’s adopter.

You must also be an employee of a company (not an agency worker or a self-employed subcontractor) and you must have worked for that company for at least 26 weeks before the end of the 15th week before the baby is due.

When you tell your employer that you intend on taking paternity leave, your written notice should explain when the baby is due, and when you would like to take the leave.  An exact date isn’t necessary, but your employer will expect a rough estimate.

If you qualify, then you’re allowed to take one or two weeks’ paternity leave upon the birth of the baby, although sometimes your employer will allow you to take longer.  You must decide whether you’re going to take one or two weeks off in advance, and then take this ordinary paternity leave at once, and not in individual days off spread over a longer period of time.  Paternity leave can be taken when the baby is born or at a later date, but it must usually be taken within 56 days of the birth or, if the baby is early, 56 days of the due date.

If the baby’s mother is no longer on her ordinary maternity leave, then new fathers also have the right to take up to another 26 weeks additional paternity leave, which can be taken from 20 weeks after the birth of the child but not beyond the baby’s first birthday.  You must give your employer at least 8 weeks’ notice if you intend on taking additional paternity pay.

For paternity pay you should give your employer 28 days’ written notice, before you want the payment to start.  At the time of writing, paternity pay is fixed at £138.18 per week or 90% of your average weekly wage (whichever is lower) and it is taxable and subject to National Insurance payment.

If you feel you’ve been treated unfairly by your employer with regard to paternity leave or paternity pay, then contact QualitySolicitors on 08082747557 and have a quick five-minute chat with us for free so we can work out how we might be able to help you.

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