UK paternity leave is the right of a father, partner of a pregnant woman, surrogate parent or someone who has been matched with a child by an adoption agency, to take up to 2 weeks' leave in one block. The leave must be taken within 56 days of the birth of a child or within 56 days of the expected date of birth if the child is born early. To take paternity leave, the employee must have at least 26 weeks of service with the employer.
Expectant fathers or partners of expectant mothers (and surrogate parents from 6 April 2015) are also entitled to unpaid time off work to attend up to 2 antenatal appointments (up to a maximum of six and a half hours each) regardless of the length of time they have worked for an employer (unless they are an agency worker). Those who are adopting, are entitled to unpaid time off work to attend up to 2 adoption appointments after having been matched with a child.
Types of leave
Employees who earn more than a set amount (currently £123 before tax) are entitled to Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP). During ‘ordinary paternity leave’ (OPL), SPP is paid at a fixed statutory rate (£156.66 a week) or 90% of the average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).
Whether employees will receive SPP during ‘additional paternity leave’ (APL) depends on when exactly the mother or adopter returned to work (ie whether they had any remaining entitlement to statutory maternity or adoption pay when they returned to work). For more information, read Shared parental leave.