When a baby is expected, a working mother is aware of the Maternity Leave and Pay that she can expect her employer to provide, but in many cases Shared Paternity Leave is still not taken up by working father or partner.
An article in the Guardian in April 2016 stated that research by My Family Care showed that four out of 10 employers had not seen any employees take up shared paternity leave, and fewer than 10% of employers reported more than a 1% uptake. Further research showed that employees are concerned about career progression and that taking shared leave was seen in a negative light.
Employees stated that only 40% of employers encouraged shared paternity leave, though almost half of the businesses offered enhanced pay in line with what is offered as maternity pay.
However all fathers and partners are entitled to Statutory Paternity Leave, so let’s take a look at this first.
Eligibility for Statutory Paternity Leave
Statutory Paternity Leave is one or two weeks leave allowed because the employees’ partner is having a baby, adopting a child or having a baby through surrogacy arrangements.
To be eligible for Statutory Paternity Leave the employee must be either:
- the father
- the husband or partner of the mother (or adopter)
- the child’s adopter
- the intended parent (if the employee is having a baby through a surrogacy arrangement)
There are extra conditions they’ll need to meet to qualify for leave and pay.
They also must:
- be an employee
- have worked for you continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (known as the ‘qualifying week’) and will continue to be employed up the birth of the baby
- give the correct notice
The ‘qualifying week’ is different if you adopt.
The two weeks Statutory Paternity Leave must be taken in one go. A ‘week’ is the standard number of days worked each week.
Statutory Paternity Leave cannot start before the birth of the baby and must end within 56 days of the birth. Your employee must give notice of their intention to take Statutory Paternity Leave at least 15 weeks before the week that the baby is due.
The employee should provide the employer with a completed SC3 form which can be filled in line and printed or saved as a PDF and supplied to the employer by email. This will give the due date, an indication of whether the Statutory Paternity Leave will start on the day the baby is born and whether the employee wants to take one or two weeks. If the employee does not want to take Statutory Paternity Leave from the day the baby is born they should be asked to outline when they want Statutory Paternity Leave to begin, for example ‘the week following the birth’. Employees need to give 28 days notice to change the date of Statutory Paternity Leave
Eligibility for Statutory Paternity Pay
As of April 2017 Statutory Paternity Pay is £140.98 or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings, whichever is lower, and tax and NI will be deducted.
To qualify for Statutory Paternity Pay an employee must fulfill all of the above conditions for Stat.ML plus earn up to £113.00 per week (before tax)
We’ll take a look at Shared Paternity Leave in further blog. An employers guide to Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave can be found on the HMRC website. ACAS also have lots of useful information for employers.