Do fathers get employment rights? We hear a lot about mothers but what about fathers?

Family friendly rights have improved substantially in recent times in order to allow parents, especially fathers, to play a larger role in their child’s early years and at the same time have their employment protected.

Statutory paternity leave is available to fathers if they are the biological father of the child or the husband or civil partner or partner of the mother or adopter, and expect to have the responsibility to raise the child.

Employed fathers are entitled to 2 weeks’ ordinary paternity leave subject to length of service. This 2 week period can be taken in either a block of 1 week (in which case the second week is sacrificed) or 2 weeks and must be taken within 56 days of the birth.

Fathers may be entitled to Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) during their paternity leave. The rate of SSP changes each year but is currently £135.45 unless the employee ordinarily earns less than this.

The most recent development for fathers was the introduction of additional paternity leave in 2011. This allows the mother to transfer some of her maternity leave period over to the father, who will then take that remaining leave as additional paternity leave, but the mother must return to work. SPP will be paid to the father during this time but only for as long as the mother would have continued to receive statutory maternity pay. In some cases this will mean that additional paternity leave is unpaid.

A father has the right to return to the same job after ordinary or additional paternity leave, however, this may not be the case if other types of leave (e.g. parental leave) are taken consecutively.

Similar provisions apply where a child has been adopted.

Parental leave is available for both mothers and fathers to take. It is to be used when the employee simply wants to spend more time with their child, but is an unpaid period of leave. Both parents are entitled to a maximum of 13 weeks parental leave per individual child, meaning parents would get 26 weeks each in total if they had 2 children. The child must be under the age of 5, but this may be extended to 18 if the child is adopted. Other criteria apply to the taking of the leave.

Other family friendly provisions are also available to fathers e.g. time off for dependants and the right to request flexible working.

For any further clarification, please call our 24 Hour Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.