Becoming a new father can be one of life’s greatest moments, but it can also be daunting. There can be worries about balancing work and life – not missing out on those big moments whilst protecting your livelihood. Fortunately, there are a number of rights and protections for new fathers at work.
What am I entitled to?
If your partner has had a baby, you have adopted, or you’ve had a baby through surrogacy; you may be entitled to Paternity Leave, Paternity Pay or Shared Parental Leave.
What is Paternity Leave?
You can take either one or two weeks Paternity Leave. It cannot start before the birth, and must have concluded within fifty-six days of the birth.
You are also entitled to take unpaid leave to accompany a pregnant woman to two antenatal appointments.
Will I still be paid?
Yes, but you may earn less. The statutory weekly rate of Paternity Pay is £156.66, or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lowest. You will receive the money on your usual payday.
Will I be eligible?
To qualify for Paternity Leave or Paternity Pay, you must have worked for your employer for twenty-six weeks up to the “qualifying week” (this is the fifteenth week before the baby is due), be an employee and give the correct notice.
What about for adoption or surrogacy?
The rules are slightly different in this instance.
For adoption, to qualify for Paternity Leave or Paternity Pay you must have been employed by your employer for at least twenty-six weeks by the ‘matching week’. This is typically the end of the week you’re matched with the child.
For surrogacy, to qualify for Paternity Leave or Paternity Pay, you must be in a couple, be responsible for the child and have worked for your employer continuously for at least twenty-six weeks by the end of the ‘qualifying week’ (the fifteenth week before the baby is due). You must inform your employer at least fifteen weeks before the due date informing them of this, and when you intend to take your leave.
What is Shared Parental Leave?
You and your partner may be able to get Shared Parental Leave and Statutory Shared Parental Pay. This is up to fifty weeks of leave and thirty-seven weeks of pay split between you.
You cannot take Paternity Leave if you take Shared Parental Leave.
Can my employment rights change if I take Paternity Leave or Shared Parental Leave?
No. Your employment rights are protected whilst you are on Paternity Leave or Shared Parental Leave, and you cannot be discriminated against because of this. This includes your right to pay rises and accrue holiday days.
What support can I get as a new father?
Community is proud to stand alongside our members as they take this exciting new step in their life. Should you have any difficulty accessing Paternity Leave, Shared Parental Leave or Paternity Pay from your employer, do get in touch with the Service Centre and we will be happy to assist.
We also know that a new baby being born can be an expensive endeavour, so offer a range of financial assistance and discounts for our members.