PATERNITY LEAVE CHANGES
New Regulations introducing new rights for time off and payment will be introduced on 6th April 2010. Whilst they go live this April, the rights they grant only apply to parents of children who are placed for adoption or are expected to be born on or after 3rd April 2011. So we have time to assess the impact and address what we might need to do differently.
As with most regulations these days, the detail is complex (in this case 22 pages worth) and various qualifications have to be met by the father or adoptive father. If met this gives the potential for up to 26 weeks Additional Paternity Leave.
Currently, a father with 26 weeks continuous service as at the 15th week before the Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC), is entitled to take up to 2 weeks Paternity Leave within 56 days of the birth; payment being at the appropriate rate of Statutory Paternity Pay.
The new Regulations provide for a new entitlement to Additional Paternity Leave. This will be for up to a maximum of 26 weeks and may qualify for payment.
Key features of the new right are:
The new leave must be taken as one continuous period of leave
If taken it must be for a minimum of 2 weeks with a maximum of 26 weeks
It must be taken in increments of complete and consecutive weeks
The leave must not start until at least 20 weeks after the birth or placement for adoption
The leave must end not later than 12 months after the birth or placement for adoption.
An Employee wishing to take Additional Paternity Leave must give a minimum of 8 weeks notice to the Employer of when the leave is to commence
It can only be taken if the mother has returned to work.
If the Additional Paternity Leave is taken during the 39 weeks in which the mother would have received Statutory Maternity Pay, then the paternity leave will be paid at the same rate. The effect being a transfer of some of the Statutory Maternity Pay from the mother to the father. Any period of Additional Paternity Leave outside the 39 weeks will be unpaid unless the employer agrees otherwise.
Under the Regulations, those wishing to take Additional Paternity Leave will be required to “self certify” the leave by providing evidence justifying their eligibility to their employer. It will also be possible for employers and HMRC to make further investigations into the entitlement if necessary.
An Employee is entitled to work up to 10 days (“keeping in touch”) days during the Additional Paternity Leave period.
We remind you that Statutory Maternity, Paternity and Adoption Pay increases on 6th April 2010 from £123.06 to £124.88 per week.
It should be noted that we have used the description ‘father’ in this article. The same rights extend to partners who adopt.
As usual – give us a call if you are perplexed!!