paternity leave and pay

Following the birth of a child or an adoption placement, fathers, spouses and partners/civil partners have a right to paternity leave and pay, to care for the child or support the mother. From 1st December 2014 parents of a child born to a surrogate mother will be entitled to paternity leave and pay.

We look at all the details here.

Fathers and partners/civil partners who are workers will not quality for Leave but may qualify for Paternity Pay (see below). Freelancers, unless they are classed as Workers, are not eligible for either leave or pay.

N.B. A child’s father will not be entitled to Leave or Pay if he is separated, divorced or living apart from the child’s mother and plays little or no part in the child’s upbringing.

Length of Paternity Leave

  • You can take up to two consecutive weeks’ paternity leave (not odd days)
  • You can choose to start your leave on the day the baby is born, matched for adoption, a chosen number of days or weeks after the birth/adoption, or when the baby is expected to be born/adopted
  • Leave can start on any day of the week after the child’s birth/adoption but must be finished within 56 days (eight weeks) of the baby being born/adopted
  • For details on bank holidays that occur during paternity leave see our Working Time Regulations page
  • If your partner has a multiple birth you’re only allowed one period of paternity leave.

Return to work after Paternity Leave:

You are entitled to return to the same job following paternity leave. A European Court of Justice case in September 2013 (Halliday v Creation Consumer Finance Ltd) found that an employee absent on parental leave could be made redundant, as long as the reason for the dismissal was not the parental leave (this will apply to maternity leave and paternity leave too).