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All the information about Paternity Leave

Find out more information about your paternity leave rights and responsibilities, including how to claim your paternity leave and pay, how your paternity pay is paid and what to do if you have any problems.
To qualify for leave, you must tell your employer in writing at least 15 weeks before the beginning of the week when the baby's due or within seven days of being told by the adoption agency that you've been matched with a child. You need to tell your employer:
  • when the baby is due or when the child is expected to be placed with you for adoption
  • whether you want one or two weeks' leave
  • when you want the leave to start
You must give your employer 28 days’ notice of the date on which you want your Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) to start.

A simple way to give notice is to fill in a 'self-certificate'. You can download Form SC3 'Becoming a parent', which works as a self-certificate.

You can change the date that the leave and pay start, as long as you give 28 days' notice. You should tell your employer the date of the birth or actual date of adoption placement in writing if your employer requests it. However, you do not have to give your employer any medical evidence of the pregnancy or birth to claim statutory paternity leave or pay.
You pay tax and National Insurance on SPP in the same way as on your regular wages. Your employer reclaims the majority of SPP from their National Insurance contributions. To qualify for SPP you must pay tax and National Insurance as an employee.

If you have more than one job you may be able to claim SPP from each employer.

If you are arrested or sent to prison during your paternity pay period your employer no longer has to pay you SPP.

Your employer can not pay paternity pay in any week when you are working or getting statutory sick pay. If you are unwell before taking paternity leave, you should postpone your leave.

If your contract ends after your child is born you will still be able to get SPP unless you begin working for another employer.
If you can't give the full notice period to your employer for a valid reason (eg if the baby arrives early or the adoption agency gives insufficient notice), you should still give as much notice as possible. You may still receive leave and pay if you meet the other conditions or would have if your baby had not been born early. If there is no valid reason (eg you simply forgot) you will lose your entitlement.
If your boss refuses to pay you or won’t allow you to take paternity leave, talk to the person above them or go to the human resources or personnel department. If you have an employee representative (eg a trade union official), they may be able to help.

If this doesn't work, you may need to make a complaint using your employer's internal grievance procedure.

If you're still unhappy you have the right to make a complaint to an Employment Tribunal.