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Paternity / partner's leave policy

Policy purpose and scope

Employees who meet certain qualifying conditions have a statutory right to take two weeks' paid paternity / partner’s leave on the birth or adoption of a child for whom they have or expect to have responsibility.

The leave must be used to provide care and support to the mother / primary adopter and / or the child and not for any other purpose.

Paternity / Partner leave should not be confused with shared parental leave (SPL).This allows eligible new parents to share up to 50 weeks’ leave during the child’s first year in their family if they reduce their maternity / adoption leave entitlement to take it as SPL instead. You are not entitled to paternity / partner’s leave if you take SPL, therefore you should take any paternity / partner’s leave that you intend to take before commencing SPL as you will forfeit your right to paternity / partner’s leave if you take SPL first. If you decide to take SPL you will need to follow the Shared Parental Leave Policy.

This policy sets out your paternity / partner’s leave and pay entitlements and the procedure for you to request such leave and pay.

This policy applies to all employees and is non-contractual.

1. Eligibility

On the birth of the baby, you are entitled to paternity / partner’s leave if you are taking time off to support the mother / primary adopter or care for the baby and are one of the following:

  • the biological father of the child or the biological mother's husband or partner
  • have, or expect to have, responsibility for the upbringing of the child
  • you are surrogate parents who are, or expect to be, the parents of a child under a parental order; and
  • have been continuously employed and paid by The Pensions Regulator for 26 weeks into the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC) known as the qualifying week (the Qualifying Week), or the end of the week in which you are notified of being matched with a child (if adopting) or the date the child enters the UK (if an overseas adoption)

The definition of 'partner' in relation to the birth or adoption of a child is 'a person, same or different sex, who lives with the mother or adopter in an enduring family relationship but is not a blood relative'.

In the case of surrogacy arrangements, you must be in a couple and be responsible for the child (with your partner).

In the case of the birth of a child, the mother may take maternity leave. Please see the Maternity Policy.

In the case of an adoption, the partner may take adoption leave (referred to as the ‘primary adopter’). Please see the Adoption Policy.

If you are not entitled to paternity / partner’s leave you may be eligible for unpaid parental leave. Please see the Parental Leave Policy.

2. Paternity / partner’s leave

You cannot start your leave before the birth of the baby.

You can have up to two weeks' paternity / partner's leave. We allow eligible employees to choose to take their paternity / partner's leave as separate days or as a complete week or weeks.

You can choose to start your leave:

  • from the date of the child's birth or placement for adoption (whether this is earlier or later than expected); or
  • from a chosen number of days or weeks after the date of the child's birth or placement for adoption (whether this is earlier or later than expected). If the baby is premature the period ends eight weeks after the start of the EWC.

Leave can start on any day of the week on or following the child's birth or placement, but must be completed:

  • within 56 days of the actual date of birth or placement of the child; or
  • if the child is born early, within the period from the actual date of birth up to 56 days after the first day of the expected week of birth.

You must give 28 days’ notice if you wish to change the start date.

Only one period of leave is available to you irrespective of whether more than one child is born as the result of the same pregnancy eg twins.

3. Statutory paternity / partner's pay (SPP)

During your paternity / partner's leave, you are entitled to statutory paternity / partner's pay (SPP) provided you have at least 26 weeks' continuous employment ending with the Qualifying Week and your average earnings are not less than the lower earnings limit set by the government each tax year. SPP is paid at a prescribed rate set by the government, or at 90% of your average weekly earnings calculated over the relevant period if this is lower.

We offer more generous payment provisions to qualifying employees:

  • Weeks 1 and 2: statutory paternity / partner's pay topped up to contractual rate of pay.

If you work part-time you will be entitled to paternity / partner's leave and pay on a pro rata basis.

If you do not return to work after paternity / partner's leave you will be required to repay the salary payments that are in excess of SPP.

In the unfortunate event of a child being stillborn after 24 weeks, you will still be entitled to paternity leave and pay.

In the case of adoptions, if you are informed before your leave starts that the placement is not going ahead then you will not be entitled to leave or pay. If the child has already been placed and then a disruption occurs to the placement you will be eligible for leave and pay.

4. Notification requirements

To take paternity / partner’s leave you must give your manager written notice by the end of the 15th week before the EWC (or no more than seven days after the adoption agency notified you of being matched with a child), or as soon as you reasonably can, stating:

  • the EWC
  • whether you intend to take one week or two weeks' leave; and
  • when you would like your leave to start

If you subsequently need to change the dates of your paternity / partner's leave you should try to give at least 28 days’ notice of any changes.

If you are applying for paternity/partner's leave you will need to complete a paternity / partner's leave and pay application form. This is your signed declaration of your entitlement and eligibility in accordance with this policy.

You must enter your paternity / partner’s leave onto the flexitime system for HR to approve.

5. Terms and conditions

You are entitled to the benefit of your normal terms and conditions of employment, except for terms relating to wages or salary (although, subject to eligibility, we top up pay to your full contractual rate for up to two weeks of paternity / partner’s leave), throughout your paternity / partner's leave.

The impact on the terms and conditions outlined below all mirror those as set out in the Maternity Policy.

  • Annual leave
  • Changing pattern of work
  • Fixed term employees
  • Part time employees
  • Pension
  • Public holidays

Return to work after paternity / partner's leave

You have the right to return to the same job on the same terms and conditions that existed prior to paternity / partner’s leave.