Everything You Need To Know About Paternity Leave

What is paternity leave?

When you take time off because your spouse/partner is having a baby (either naturally, via adoption, or through a surrogacy agreement) you may be entitled to a certain amount of time off work, known as paternity leave.

Who qualifies for paternity pay?

  • The father of the baby
  • Husband or partners of the mother (or adopter)
  • The intended parent (if you’re having a baby via surrogacy)
  • The child’s adopter
Statutory paternity pay explained
In order to meet the requirements to receive paternity leave, you must be classed as an employee and have worked for your employer up to the date of the baby’s birth. You must earn at least £116 a week before tax.

You also need to:

  • Have been employed up to the date the baby is born (or placed with the adoptive parents)
  • Give you employer the right amount of notice
  • Be taking time off to look after the new baby or your spouse/partner
  • Be directly responsible for upbringing of the baby
  • Have been working continuously for the same employer for 26 weeks or more up to any day in the ‘qualifying week’ (the 15th week before the baby is due)
Taxes and paternity pay
You will have tax and National Insurance taken from your paternity pay in the same way as it’s deducted from your wages.
How does it work if your company pays more than statutory paternity pay?
If your average weekly earnings are more than £116 gross (before tax), Statutory Paternity Pay is paid for one or two consecutive weeks at £145.18 or 90 per cent of your average weekly earnings if this is less.


How to claim paternity pay
To claim Statutory Paternity Pay it’s essential you tell your employer when you would like to take the leave by the 15th week before your baby is due.

Your employer will likely ask you for an SC3 form (becoming a parent) that confirms you qualify for the pay.

When does paternity pay start?
You can decide yourself when you would like to start receiving Statutory Paternity Pay. It doesn’t matter what day of the week your leave starts on, but it does need to be on or following the birth of the baby and completed within 8 weeks of the actual birth date (or 8 weeks after the expected date of birth if the baby arrives early).

You’ll be able to take paternity pay for either one week or two weeks back to back, but not on odd days. If you have two or more jobs, you might be eligible to claim Statutory Paternity Pay from every employer you work for. Remember though that no employer can pay you Statutory Paternity Pay for any weeks that you’re at work.

Can I get paternity pay if I am unemployed or have been made redundant?
As you claim paternity pay from your employer, you can’t claim it if you’re unemployed. However, if you’ve been made redundant and are working your notice, your employer is still contractually liable for any entitlement, so you should still get it. However, it’s worth discussing it with HR so they can clarify.