Maternity leave is one of those phrases which has been around for ages – well actually statutory maternity leave was only brought in 1988. It is traditionally a time for mum to have time off work to look after the baby but now things change and it is generally accepted that the dad wants to be a vital part of the first few weeks of their child’s life.
Therefore, the government moved and progressed to bring in paternity leave allowing fathers that precious time with their newborn. It is granted to dads or to someone who may share the responsibility for the care (someone of same sex relationship or if adopting a child). There is certain criteria which include:
– You must be the biological father or the mothers partner or spouse
– You are responsible for the child
– You must have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks prior to the 15th week before your baby arrives.
As long as you meet these criteria then you are entitled to have paid time off when your baby is born. You can decide how you would like to take your paternity leave. You can take a week or two weeks off, but this has to be taken in a chunk and you are not allowed to have odd days off.
You will be paid during this time off and you will either receive 90% of your pay (if it is less than the statutory pay) or you will receive statutory paternity pay, which is currently £136.78 per week. Your employment contract may stipulate that you will be paid more than this statutory amount, but the statutory pay is the minimum.
In addition to paternity leave there is something called additional paternity leave which you can decide to take and this allows some flexibility for you to take leave during your child’s first year. There are a number of rules around pay during this time and it is linked to your partner’s maternity leave too so you should check your entitlement to take this additional leave.
In short, you are entitled to take time off with pay once your partner has your child and if your employer does not allow you to, you can seek advice from a solicitor.
For more information about this article or any aspect of our employment services, please call us on 01772 424999 or email email@example.com and we will be delighted to help you (As always initial advice is free of charge).