Additional Paternity Leave receives House of Lords approval

25th March 2010

The House of Lords has now approved the Additional Paternity Leave Regulations 2010 (“the Regulations”), which will affect parents whose babies are born on or after 3 April 2011 (or with regard to adoption, are notified of having been matched with a child on or after 3 April 2011).

In essence, the Regulations will give parents the option of splitting between them the year that the mother is currently able to take as maternity leave, giving them greater flexibility in their childcare arrangements.

The main points to note within the Regulations are as follows:

• Employees who are eligible to take ordinary paternity leave (i.e. 1 or 2 weeks’ leave) will be eligible to subsequently take additional paternity leave of between 2 and 26 weeks.

• Employees will not be permitted to take additional paternity leave in the first 20 weeks following the birth or placement for adoption of the child, and must end their leave within 12 months after the birth or placement for adoption.

• Where additional paternity leave is taken during the mother’s 39 week maternity pay period it will be paid at the same rate as Statutory Maternity Pay (i.e. a maximum of £124.88 per week from 4 April 2010).

• In order to take additional paternity leave, employees will have to provide their employer with a notice, in which they will self certify their eligibility. Employers and HMRC will then both have the right to carry out further checks (for example by contacting the mother’s employer) if this is considered to be necessary.