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Paternity Leave in the UK: A Guide for Employers

Employees who are new parents often need time to care for the child and celebrate the birth. Most countries offer maternity leave and/or pay for the new mother, but paternity leave for fathers is not as common.

If you have employees in the UK, paternity leave and pay is a statutory entitlement for fathers with a new child, so you will want to understand eligibility, leave periods and pay limits.  This guide will outline the basic rules to get you started on meeting the leave entitlements for your employees.

Who is eligible to take paternity leave in the UK?

While the UK does have a progressive paternity leave policy, there are a few eligibility requirements.  The natural father is eligible as is the husband or partner of the mother, which includes same-sex partners.  Adopting fathers and those with a surrogate mother are also eligible.

Other eligibility criteria include being currently employed for a minimum of 26 weeks prior to the 15th week prior to the due date, and earnings of at least GPB 120 per week.  If qualified, the employee must give notice to the employer 15 weeks before the baby’s due date.

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What are the paternity leave entitlements in the UK?

Statutory paternity leave is either one week or two consecutive weeks, after the birth of the child.  The leave period must be completed within 56 days of birth.

How do employers calculate the paternity pay in the UK?

Paternity pay is mandatory during the leave period and is the lesser of GBP 151.97 a week or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings.

Client Case: How do employees apply for paternity pay?

Our client with employees in the UK wanted to clarify how the employee would actually apply for paternity leave.  We explained the notice requirements 15 weeks prior, and that the employee could use an online form to apply for paternity leave and pay from the government.

Do you need more information about the United Kingdom?

If you are new to hiring in the UK, you may have other questions such as:

Is there parental leave for childcare in addition to maternity/paternity leave?

Is paternity leave pay taxable as income?

Is paternity pay processed in payroll or separately by the government?

These types of questions arise frequently with our clients as they rely on our in-country partners to remain compliant with statutory entitlements, benefits and taxation.  We make international employment simple.

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The information in this article is subject to changes in local legislation.

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