• Employment
  • December 22, 2021

Paternity leave - What it is and how Statutory Paternity Pay works

For small businesses, understanding the rights associated with paternity leave can be challenging. To help you, our expert Employment Law Solicitors have put together this brief guide on what paternity leave is and an employee’s right to statutory paternity pay.

What is paternity leave?

Employees of any sex are entitled to one whole week or two consecutive weeks of paternity leave within 56 days of the birth or adoption of their child. There are also circumstances where the baby is born to a surrogate mother and the employee is expected to be granted a parental order.

To be eligible for paternity leave the employee must be:

  • an employee, not a worker or self-employed
  • have been continuously employed by you for not less than 26 weeks
  • in a relationship with the child’s mother, the child, or the adopter
  • have or expect to have responsibility for the child’s upbringing
  • not have taken shared parental leave for the same child
  • provided you with the required notice (28 days notice of the date from which the employee expects to receive Statutory Paternity Pay) and (if requested) the necessary evidence of entitlement

Employees are protected from detrimental treatment and dismissal for reasons connected with their rights to paternity leave.

What is Statutory Paternity Pay?

Statutory Paternity Pay is the minimum amount you can pay your employees by law if they have worked in your business continuously for more than 26 weeks, ending with the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth.

The statutory weekly rate of Paternity Pay is £151.97, or 90% of your employee’s average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) during ‘ordinary paternity leave’ (OPL). Tax and National Insurance will be deducted and it is paid in the same way as their wages, eg monthly or weekly.

Employees who are eligible and give you the required notice and evidence will be able to claim Statutory Paternity Pay. 

Final words

Paternity leave and pay is a statutory right. Employers can face a claim in the Employment Tribunal if they do not allow an employee to take leave or pay them the correct amount whilst they are on paternity leave. There are some additional rules regarding adoption leave, especially from abroad. Further details are on the gov.uk website.

If you are unsure about anything concerning paternity leave and pay, contact an Employment Law Solicitor for legal advice and representation.

Get legal assistance from LawBite

It is important you know your duties and responsibilities to your employees on paternity leave. At LawBite our expert employment lawyers are ready to help you answer all your questions regarding paternity leave. Contact us today to book your free 15-minute consultation to discuss your legal issues.

Additional useful information

In closing

Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice on which you should rely. The article is provided for general information purposes only. Professional legal advice should always be sought before taking any action relating to or relying on the content of this article. Our Platform Terms of Use apply to this article.

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