Paternity leave policyPublished: 09 April 2023
Freedom of information class: How we manage our resources
This policy sets out the statutory rights and responsibilities of employees who wish to take paternity leave.
Table of contents
RoS recognises that, from time to time, you may have questions or concerns relating to your paternity rights. It is RoS’ policy to encourage open discussion with employees to ensure that questions and problems can be resolved as quickly as possible. As the paternity provisions are complex, you should clarify the relevant procedures with the HR department to ensure that they are followed.
We would advise that this policy is read in conjunction with the shared parental leave policy as some rights contained in this policy will be rescinded should maternity leave be curtailed and one or both parents opt into (and are eligible for) the shared parental leave Scheme.
An employee whose wife, civil partner or partner gives birth to a child, or who is the biological father of the child, is entitled to 2 weeks' ordinary, statutory paternity leave and 2 weeks occupational paternity leave provided that they have 26 weeks' continuous service by the end of the 15th week before the week in which the child is expected.
To qualify for paternity leave, you must also have, or expect to have, responsibility for the upbringing of the child and be making the request to help care for the child or to support the child's mother.
Paternity leave is also available to adoptive parents where a child is matched or newly placed with them for adoption. Either the adoptive father or the adoptive mother may take paternity leave where the other adoptive parent has elected to take adoption leave. A separate policy is available in respect of adoption leave. In respect of an adopted child, the employee must have 26 weeks' continuous service by the week in which the child's adopter is notified of having been matched with the child for adoption.
Paternity leave is granted in addition to your normal annual holiday entitlement. Ordinary paternity leave must be taken in a single block of one or two weeks within 56 days of the birth or adoption of the child. If the child is born early, it must be taken from the time of the birth but within eight weeks of the expected date of childbirth. Ordinary paternity leave can start either from the date the child is born or placed for adoption or from a chosen number of days or weeks after that date.
Two weeks occupational paternity leave, must be agreed with your line manager and must be taken and completed:
- within 12 months from the date of the child’s birth or, in the case of adoption, within 12 months of the child being placed.
- in the event of the child is born early, within 12 months from the first day of the expected week of childbirth.
Notification of ordinary paternity leave
Where you wish to request ordinary paternity leave, you must give your line manager 15 weeks' written notice of the date on which your partner's baby is due, the length of ordinary paternity leave you wish to take and the date on which you wish the leave to commence.
You need to use the first two weeks of paternity leave within the following timescales:
- Within 56 days from the date of the child’s birth or adoption placement.
- In the event the child is born early, within 56 days from the first day of the expected week of childbirth.
In the case of an adopted child, you must give written notice of your intention to take ordinary paternity leave no later than seven days after the date on which notification of the match with the child was given by the adoption agency. The notice must specify the date the child is expected to be placed for adoption, the date you intend to start ordinary paternity leave, the length of the intended ordinary paternity leave period and the date on which the adopter was notified of having been matched with the child.
If you subsequently wish to change the timing of the ordinary paternity leave, you must give 28 days' written notice of the new dates.
For those who qualify, RoS offers Occupational Paternity Pay. This means that you will be paid the equivalent of your full salary for the time that you are on paternity leave.
Should you not meet the qualifying criteria your pay during ordinary paternity leave will be at a rate set by the government for the relevant tax year, or at 90% of the employee's average weekly earnings, if this figure is lower than the government's set weekly rate. However, employees whose average weekly earnings are below the lower earnings limit for national insurance contributions will not be eligible for ordinary statutory paternity pay.
Statutory paternity pay is treated as earnings and is therefore subject to PAYE and national insurance deductions.
Statutory paternity pay can start from any day of the week in accordance with the date you start your paternity leave.
Time off for antenatal care
You have the right to take time off to accompany a pregnant woman with whom you are having a child to up to three antenatal appointments. RoS’ policy is that this time off will be paid.
To be eligible to take this form of time off, you could be the husband or civil partner of the pregnant woman, or could be living with the pregnant woman in an enduring family relationship. In addition, you will be eligible for the time off if you are the biological father of the expected child. The antenatal appointment must be made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, midwife or nurse. If you would like to make a request for time off to accompany someone at an antenatal appointment should in the first instance contact your line manager to book the time off.
You should endeavour to give your line manager as much notice as possible of when you need the time off for the antenatal appointment and, wherever possible, try to arrange them as near to the start or end of the working day as possible.
It should be noted that it is at your line manager’s discretion to ask for evidence of these appointments and you should be prepared to provide this where necessary.
Shared parental leave
Shared parental leave is available in relation to babies due on or after 5 April 2015. Shared parental leave enables mothers to commit to ending their maternity leave and pay at a future date, and to share the untaken balance of leave and pay as shared parental leave with their partner.
Shared parental leave must be taken in blocks of at least one week. You can request to take shared parental leave in one continuous block (in which case your line manager is required to accept the request as long as you meet the eligibility and notice requirements), or as a number of discontinuous blocks of leave (in which case you will need your line managers agreement).
To be able to take shared parental leave, you and your partner must meet various eligibility requirements and have complied with the relevant curtailment, notice and evidence requirements. This includes the mother curtailing her maternity leave.
You can refer to RoS’ policy on shared parental leave, where you will find full details of the eligibility requirements, as well as instructions as to how the mother's maternity leave can be curtailed. RoS’ policy on shared parental leave sets out the notice periods with which you must comply and what evidence you must provide to your line manager. The policy also contains more details on RoS’ generous shared parental pay scheme.
The mother and the partner should ensure that they are each liaising with their own employer when making requests for shared parental leave.
Additional paternity leave
Additional paternity leave is available in relation to babies due before 5 April 2015. For babies born after this date additional paternity leave does not apply and you should refer to the shared parental leave policy. If eligible you may take up to 26 weeks' additional paternity leave within the first year of their child's life provided that the mother has returned to work. RoS provides a separate policy for additional paternity leave.
Approval and review
|Author||HROD Team - Employee Relations|
|Reviewed||Head of People of Change|
|Cleared||Director of People|
|Approval date||Existing policy|
|Review date||April 2024|
|Suitable for publication||Y|