Changes to paternity leave introduced in April

Paternity leave is changing with fathers and mothers being able to share time off work.

From 3 April 2011 fathers can take up to 26 weeks' extra paternity leave, in addition to their current entitlement of two weeks' statutory paternity leave.

For the father to qualify for additional paternity leave, the child must be expected to be born or be matched for adoption on or after 3 April 2011 and the additional paternity leave must be taken before the child’s first birthday.

The additional paternity leave can only be taken:

  • if the mother of the child has returned to work with some of her statutory maternity leave untaken; and

  • 20 weeks must have passed since the birth.

If they qualify, mothers will be able to transfer up to six months of their maternity leave to fathers, giving parents flexibility as to how they use maternity and paternity leave. 

Fathers can even take the place of the mother at home for the last three months of her nine-month maternity leave.

Employees taking additional parental leave will be entitled to a statutory rate of pay while on leave, provided that the mother has not used up her full entitlement to statutory maternity/adoption pay. 

The rate of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay will increase from £124.88 per week to £128.73 per week, as of 3 April 2011.

Employers should conduct a detailed review and update of their relevant policies and procedures - and, if maternity or paternity rights are contained in their employment contracts, those contracts - to ensure that the new paternity rights are covered.

Written by an employment law solicitor, Lawpack’s Maternity, Paternity, Adoption & Parental Leave Policy has been updated to include this latest legislation.

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Published on: March 24, 2011

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