Additional paternity leave policyPublished: 04 April 2017
Freedom of information class: How we manage our resources
Details of our additional paternity leave policy
Table of contents
1. Additional Paternity Leave Policy
(a) Who the policy applies to
The Additional Paternity Leave policy applies to all Civil Service employees i.e. it does not apply to agency workers but will apply to those employed on a fixed term contract as well as to permanent employees. The eligibility criteria and notification requirements detailed below must be satisfied.
This policy applies to all employees regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Line Managers need to be sensitive when notified of a birth or adoption, particularly around confidentiality, as disclosure of information may be a breach of Data Protection legislation; for example under gender reassignment circumstances.
(b) What is Additional Paternity Leave?
Additional Paternity Leave allows employees to take up to 26 weeks leave to care for their new child once the mother or primary adopter has returned to work.
The earliest that this leave can commence is 20 weeks after the child is born, 20 weeks after the placement of a child for adoption, or 20 weeks after the child entered Great Britain in the case of overseas adoptions. It must end no later than 12 months after the birth/placement date and can only be taken where the mother or primary adopter has returned to work.
(c) Roles & Responsibilities
- provide at least 8 weeks notice of the date from which they wish to take leave and provide all of the required information.
- comply with the procedures
- have a duty to apply the Additional Paternity Leave policy and accompanying procedures.
- maintain reasonable contact with the employee during the period of Additional Paternity Leave to keep them up to date on any significant developments.
2. Eligibility & Notifications
(a) Eligibility Criteria
In order to be eligible for Additional Paternity Leave, each of the following criteria must be satisfied:
- The employee has been continuously employed within the Civil Service for at least 26 weeks, ending with the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth and remains in continuous employment with the Civil Service until the week before Additional Paternity Leave starts. This continuity is not broken by movement between departments, and;
- Has or expects to have the main responsibility for the upbringing of the child (apart from any responsibility of the mother), and;
- Be the biological father of the child or be married to, or be the partner or civil partner of, the child’s mother, and;
- The mother of the child must be entitled to one or more of maternity leave, statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance, and;
- The mother must have returned to work before Additional Paternity Leave can start.
- Has been continuously employed within the Civil Service for at least 26 weeks ending with the week in which the primary adopter is notified of having been matched with a child and remains in continuous employment within the Civil Service until the week before Additional Paternity Leave starts. This continuity is not broken by movement between departments, and;
- Be married to or be the partner or civil partner of the primary adopter and have been matched with the child for adoption, and;
- The primary adopter must be entitled to one or both of: adoption leave; or statutory adoption pay, and;
- The primary adopter must have returned to work before Additional Paternity Leave can start.
For both birth and adoptive parents, please note the effect of the following types of absence on continuous service:
- A strike day would not break continuity of service but suspends it for the period of the strike. For example if an employee was on strike for one day, then they would need to have worked for 26 weeks and one day to achieve continuity of service.
- Unpaid additional paternity leave does not break or suspend the period of continuous service for up to the end of the 12 month pay period.
(b) Employee Notification Requirements
HR must be notified in writing of an intention to take Additional Paternity Leave at least 8 weeks prior to the chosen start date. Both the mother/primary adopter must sign written declarations.
If the employee wants to change the start date or cancel the leave, they must give their department 6 weeks written notice.
(c) Departmental Notification Requirements
HR will respond in writing to the request within 28 calendar days of receipt, confirming whether the employee is entitled to the leave and the relevant start and end dates.
3. Pay & Benefits
(a) Additional Statutory Paternity Pay
Employees may qualify for Additional Statutory Paternity Pay for some of the Additional Paternity Leave period if each of the following criteria is satisfied:
- The employee is eligible for Additional Paternity Leave, and;
- The employee remains in continuous employment with the Civil Service until the week before the Additional Statutory Paternity Leave begins, and;
- The mother is entitled to statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance or, in the case of adoption; the primary adopter is entitled to statutory adoption pay, and;
- The mother or primary adopter has returned to work at least 2 weeks before his/her full entitlement to Statutory Maternity Pay/Maternity Allowance/Statutory Adoption Pay has been exhausted and;
- The employee gives the required notification under this policy.
The employee will be paid Additional Statutory Paternity Pay for the remainder of the mother or primary adopter’s untaken 39 week statutory pay period.
- Any leave taken after the 39th week of the statutory pay period will be unpaid. As at April 2011, the rate is £128.73 per week or if it is a lower amount, 90% of average weekly earnings.
- Additional Statutory Paternity Pay is payable whether or not the employee intends to return to work and will start the day Additional Paternity Leave starts.
- The mother/primary adopter must have returned to work to enable the eligible employee to take additional paternity leave. A period of annual, sick or parental leave taken immediately after the maternity leave, but during the maternity or adoption pay period, is not a return to work.
If the employee thinks that they are eligible for pay and RoS decides not to pay Additional Statutory Paternity Pay, then the employee should ask the HR for the reason. HR should explain the reason for the decision in writing. If the employee is not satisfied they can provide additional information to support their reasons, they should do so as soon as possible. HR will review the case and inform the employee of the final decision as soon as possible.
If the employee still disagrees, they can raise a grievance/complaint using departmental procedures. Employees can contact their Trade Union for advice.
(c) Contractual Benefits
The employee’s contract remains in place and the employee will continue to accrue all contractual benefits except for salary, when they are on this leave. Annual Leave and Public/Privilege days will continue to accrue. HR will carry on making their usual contributions to a pension during any paid period of additional paternity leave but not during any period of unpaid paternity leave; employee contributions will be based on actual pay received.
(d) Keeping in Touch Days
Employees may work up to 10 days during their leave by mutual agreement with their Line Manager. This is to enable the employee to remain in touch with their workplace. If more than 10 days are worked then the Additional Paternity Leave will end.
(e) Pay Arrangements for Keeping in Touch Days
If an employee works on a keeping in touch day, they are entitled to the rate of pay that they would normally be contractually entitled to.
4. Return to work
(a) Return to Work Rights
If employees decide to change their return date, at least 6 weeks’ written notice of the new date is required. If this requirement is not met, RoS may postpone the employee’s return until such time as will ensure that the department has 6 weeks’ notice of the employee’s return date.
At least two weeks before the employee is due to return to work, HR should contact the employee in writing to discuss their return to work.
On returning from up to 26 weeks of additional paternity leave the employee has the right to return to the same job. This also applies for those who opt to take up to 4 weeks' unpaid parental leave at the end of the Additional Paternity Leave.
If the employee returns after a longer period, the employee has the right to return to the same job unless it is not reasonably practical. In this case the employee has the right to a suitable and appropriate alternative job at the same level. This provision is the same as the rights to return to work following maternity leave.
If an employee decides not to return to work, then they must provide written notice to their Line Manager in accordance with the terms of their contract.
(b) Restructuring and redundancy situations
It is very important that the employee is informed and consulted about future restructuring exercises if their designated post is subject to change or is at risk.
If a redundancy situation arises in an employee’s absence, RoS must make all reasonable efforts to find alternative work for the employee. Where there is a suitable available vacancy the employee on Additional Paternity Leave will have priority over other employees in the redundancy exercise in the same way as staff that are returning from maternity or adoption leave.
Employees who are on this leave, are legally protected from detriment for any reason connected with the fact that they have requested or taken Additional Paternity Leave.
5. False Declarations
If the employee fraudulently or negligently gives incorrect information or makes a false statement or declaration about their circumstances, this will be considered a disciplinary offence. Action should be taken in accordance with the disciplinary procedures.
(b) Confirming Information
The regulations specifically empower an employer to be able to request an employee to provide the mothers/primary adopters employment details. RoS is then free to contact that employer to confirm this information.
This should be done as part of a random sampling process.
6. Additional Paternity Leave Procedures
(a) Inform line manager, complete the request and sign the declaration
You must inform HR in writing at least eight weeks before you want to start your Additional Paternity Leave. You should do this using form SC7 (for births), SC8 (for UK adoptions) or SC9 (for overseas adoptions).
(b) The mother or primary adopter signs the declaration on the form
The child's mother or the primary adopter who has taken maternity or adoption leave must also sign the declaration on your form.
(c) Submit the request
You must submit the relevant SC form to HR with the declarations signed, giving at least 8 weeks notice.
(d) Communicate the Decision in Writing
HR will write to you within 28 calendar days of you making the request, letting you know if you are eligible for leave and pay and affirming the dates.
If you are not eligible, an ASPP 1 form must be sent to explain the reason why.
The leave and pay dates may be different as eligible employees will only be paid for the outstanding term of the mother or primary adopter’s 39 week statutory payment period. Employees will only be paid Additional Statutory Paternity Pay where there is at least 2 weeks remaining of the mother’s maternity pay period or primary adopter’s adoption pay period (which lasts 39 continuous weeks) following their return to work. Any additional paternity leave taken after the end of the 39 weeks is unpaid.
(e) Confirming Information
HR may choose to check a small sample of applications to ensure the information is correct. The department is empowered by the regulation to contact the mother’s or adopter’s employer for this purpose.
HR may also request a copy of the child’s birth certificate or matching certificate may also be requested. If so these must be given within 28 calendar days of it being requested.
(f) Notification of Changes
You must give at least 6 weeks notice if you wish to change the date of your leave or if you no longer wish to take your leave. If you do so and the change cannot be accommodated, for example because cover has already been hired; the original dates can be enforced for up to 6 weeks after the date on which you ought to have given notice.
If the mother or primary adopter has not returned to work or you will not be caring for the child, the entitlement to Additional Paternity Leave ceases. The onus is on you to tell HR as soon as possible.
(g) The Mother/Primary Adopter returns to work
Before the employee can start Additional Paternity Leave, the child’s mother or the primary adopter must have returned to work.
(h) Starting Additional Paternity Leave
Once the mother/primary adopter has returned to work, the employee can, subject to giving the required notice and complying with the notification requirements, start their leave and pay (where eligible) on the agreed date.
(i) Return to Work
HR must, 2 weeks prior to return, confirm in writing that you will be returning to the same job or give details of an alternative role.
If you fail to return to work on the agreed date HR must write to them immediately.
Overview of Procedures:
|What needs to be done?||Who does it?||Timing|
|Inform HR, complete the request and sign the declaration||Employee||At least 8 weeks before the leave date|
|The mother or primary adopter signs the declaration on the form||Mother or primary adopter||At least 8 weeks before the leave date|
|Submit the request||Employee||At least 8 weeks before the leave date|
|Communicate the decision in writing||HR||Within 28 days of receiving your request|
|Confirming information (if applicable)||HR||After application is received|
|Notification of Changes (if applicable)||Employee||Must give 6 weeks notice|
|The Mother/Primary Adopter returns to work||Mother/adopter - 20 weeks after the birth or adoption date||If the mother or primary adopter does not return to work APL cannot be started|
|Starting Additional Paternity Leave||Employee||Leave can only be started on the agreed date|
|Return to work||HR||2 weeks before scheduled return to work|