When your partner gives birth or when you adopt a child or have a baby by surrogate, you may be entitled to 1 or 2 weeks paternity leave and paternity pay. You are also entitled to take a small amount of unpaid time off work before the baby is born to accompany your partner (or the surrogate mother) to 2 antenatal (or adoption) appointments.
You can take up to two weeks of paternity leave which must be completed within eight weeks of the birth. The rules are different for adoptions. You can choose whether to take 1 week or 2 weeks off, but you must take all paternity leave together.
You’re eligible for paternity leave if:
- you are the baby’s biological father;
- the mum’s spouse or partner – this includes same-sex partners;
- you are taking the time off to help look after the child;
- you’ll be sharing responsibility for your baby’s care;
- you are an employee;
- you’ve been working for your employer for at least 26 weeks continuously by the end of the 15th week before your baby is due;
- provide the correct notice.
Other planning considerations:
To qualify for paternity pay you must also earn more than £113 a week before tax. The statutory weekly rate of Paternity Pay is £140.98, or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). The rate will increase to £145.18 from 1 April 2018. Your employer may also offer further additional benefits which includes higher paternity payments, however this is at their discretion and not legally required.