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Paternity leave policies set out when an employee may be entitled to paternity leave and paternity pay and the arrangements for taking this.
A paternity leave policy could detail that the employee may be entitled to time off to accompany their partner to antenatal appointments.
Shared Parental Leave
In some cases, employees may be eligible to opt into the statutory shared parental leave scheme “SPL”. This scheme gives employees more flexibility to share leave and pay in the child’s first year.
The norm is that policies do not form part of an employee’s contract of employment and there is normally a clause setting out that these can be subject to amendment or change at any time.
Paternity leave is available on the birth of a child, subject to the employee having been employed for at least 26 weeks ending with the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth and the employee is either the biological father and will have some responsibility for the child’s upbringing or the employee is the spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner of the biological mother and will have the main responsibility along with the mother for bringing up the child.
Paternity leave is a period of either two weeks leave taken together when the child is born or two separate weeks. Written notice must be given by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth to inform the employer of the expected childbirth, whether the employee intends to take 2 weeks leave at the same time or 2 separate weeks which must be taken within 8 weeks of the birth of the child.
Statutory paternity pay is the same as statutory maternity pay and is payable provided the employer has at least 26 weeks continuous employment at the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth, subject to the employee’s average earnings being not less than the lower earnings limit set by the Government each year.
All the employee’s normal terms and conditions of employment continue during paternity leave except for in respect of pay.