Additional Paternity Leave

Peninsula Team

February 25 2011

Additional Paternity Leave is an entitlement that is separate to the current entitlement to two weeks’ paternity leave that can be taken within 56 days of a child’s birth/adoption placement. The two week entitlement is now more widely known as Ordinary Paternity Leave (OPL) in order to distinguish the separate entitlements. Both entitlements are available to eligible employees in relation to the same child.

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 maternity/adoption leave; statutory maternity/adoption pay (SMP/SAP) 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 two 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 eight weeks’ notice of the intention to take APL, and must provide certain written evidence of their eligibility. Part of the evidence required is a declaration by the mother/co-adopter stating the day they intend to return to work. If considered necessary, the employer can request the details of the mother’s/co-ado the dates of leave to the employee. The employee may alter the dates of leave as long as they give the employer six weeks’ notice. Once the employee has started APL, they must give six weeks’ notice if they want to return to work earlier than they had originally planned.

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 exhausted their entitlement to SMP/SAP/MA, and has at least two weeks of this entitlement remaining. The employee themselves must also earn at least the lower earnings limit (currently £97 per week but this will increase in April 2011). 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. ASPP will be paid at the weekly rate of SMP which is currently £124.88 but, again, this will increase in April 2011. If the employee’s leave continues after this 39 week joint pay period has ended, the remainder will be unpaid.

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.

Advice should always be taken from the 24 Hour Advice Service on individual circumstances when an employee gives you notice of intention to take APL. Call the Advice Service on 0844 892 2772, or 0844 892 2786 if you are one of our clients in Northern Ireland.

Suggested Resources