Employees with 26 weeks continuous service at the point of the 15th week before the child is expected to be born who are also the biological father, or the mother's husband, or is the partner or the adopter of the child and who has or expects to have responsibility for the child's upbringing will be, subject to giving appropriate notification and self certification, entitled to paternity leave.
‘Ordinary paternity leave’ consists of 2 weeks to be taken in blocks of a week within 56 days of the birth of the child for the purposes of caring for the child or supporting the mother or adoptive parent in the case of adoption. The entitlement is to Statutory Paternity Leave (SPL) and Pay (SPP), with the rate set each year by government. In practice many employers prefer to offer SPL on normal terms and conditions.
For babies born after 3rd April 2011 the partner of the mother (subject to certain conditions) is able to share maternity leave and pay with the mother if the mother decides to return to work early. This right applies from the 20th week after childbirth. Both parents are normally required to self certify to claim this right. A similar arrangement came into force at the same time for couples adopting a child. At the time of writing the Secretary of State for BIS had announced that small firms (10 people or less) would be exempted from this requirement for a period of 3 years, but no detail was forthcoming on how this would be catered for within the regulations which are now in force.
This additional entitlement to paternity leave is often abbreviated to SAPL (Statutory Additional Paternity Leave) and SAPP (Statutory Additional Paternity Pay).
Typical employment law pitfalls
We are expecting the application of the SAPP and SAPL regulations to cause the most headaches, particularly as the new legislation beds in.
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