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From April 2011, new regulations mean parents will have greater flexibility on how they use maternity and paternity leave. This takes affect for parents of children due, or matched for adoption, on or after 3rd April 2011.

What are the changes?

Now, in addition to two weeks Paternity Leave, fathers can take up to 26 weeks Additional Paternity Leave. According to the Department of Business & Skills (BIS), the leave can be paid if taken during the mothers:

Statutory Maternity Pay period;
Maternity Allowance period; or
Statutory Adoption Pay period.
However, the employee has to meet a number of requirements to be eligible for paid leave.

Leave taken outside of these periods will be unpaid.

These new regulations apply providing leave does not extend past the child’s first birthday.

Additional Paternity Leave Requirements

The employee must have notified their employer a minimum of 8 weeks before the intended start date;
The employee must have worked for their employer for long enough;
The employee must have made a declaration of family commitment;
Leave must be taken as one continuous period;
The Employee’s Additional Paternity Leave must not exceed 26 weeks; and
Leave may be taken at any time between 20 weeks after the date the child was born and the child’s first birthday.

Responsibilities of the Employer

The employer is responsible for checking entitlement to APL&P and should confirm entitlement, dates and the amounts of Additional Statutory Paternity Pay to their employee.

If an employer finds that, an employee is not eligible for additional paternity leave and/or pay, they must notify the employee in writing.

What is the rate of pay?

Statutory Paternity Pay is paid at the same rate as Statutory Maternity Pay.

Additional Paternity Leave and Pay Administration Consultation Paper

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