Additional Paternity Leave is a separate and extra entitlement over and above the entitlement to 2 weeks’ ordinary paternity leave. Both entitlements are available to eligible employees in relation to the same child.

It is available to all employees who meet certain eligibility criteria and therefore all employers must allow additional paternity leave to be taken where the criteria are met.

Who is eligible?

In the case of a birth, an employee must be:

·     the child’s father; or

·     married to or the partner or civil partner of the child’s mother, but not the child’s father;

or in the case of adoption:

·     be married to or the partner or civil partner of the child’s co-adopter; and

·     have been matched with the child for adoption.

If the case of a birth, the employee must also have, or expect to have, the main responsibility, apart from the mother for the child’s upbringing. In either case, the mother/co-adopter must also be entitled to one or more of adoption/maternity leave; statutory adoption/maternity pay (SAP/SMP) or maternity allowance (MA).

The employee must have 26 weeks’ continuous employment with the employer, ending with the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth/match notification and must remain in employment until they intend to take APL. The mother/co-adopter must have returned to work by the time APL will start.

How much time can be taken off?

A minimum 2 weeks’ leave can be taken; with a maximum of 26 weeks’. Leave cannot start until the child is 20 weeks old, or, in the case of adoption, until 20 weeks after the adoption placement. Leave must end on or before the child’s 1st birthday, or 1 year after placement.

When does the employee have to tell the employer that they want to take APL?

The employee must give the employer 8 weeks’ notice of the intention to take APL, and must provide certain written evidence of their eligibility.

Will the employee get paid during APL?

If an employee is eligible for APL, they will also be eligible for Additional Statutory Paternity Pay (ASPP) as long as the mother/co-adopter has not exhausted their entitlement to SMP/SAP/MA, and has at least 2 weeks of this entitlement remaining. The employee themselves must also earn at least the lower earnings limit (currently £109 per week). The ASPP period can only last until the mother’s/co-adopter’s SMP/SAP/MA period would have ended, had they still been on leave, so effectively, the couple will receive 39 weeks’ statutory pay between them. The current rate of ASPP is £136.78.

Can the employee work at all during APL?

An employee on APL can work for up to 10 days during their APL period without ending their leave or bringing their ASPP period to an end, if the days are taken within the paid portion of the leave.

For further clarification and assistance then please contact the Peninsula Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.