Paternity Rights

legal updates

Many small businesses are concerned at the prospect of increasing leave arrangements for fathers being talked about at the moment.

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Many small businesses are concerned at the prospect of increasing leave arrangements for fathers being talked about at the moment.

The situation now is that if a baby is due on or due to be adopted after 3 April 2011 fathers will not only have rights of Ordinary Paternity Leave (OPL) but also Additional Paternity Leave (APL) subject to qualifications.  Employers may offer rights over and above these minimum levels.


a)   The employee must have been employed for 26 weeks at least before  

–      the end of the 15th week before the baby’s due birth date


–      the end of the week the employee is notified of being matched with a child for adoption.

b)   The employee must be one of 

–      biological father of the baby

–      child’s adopter

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–      mother’s husband/partner (includes same sex relationship)

–      child’s adopter’s husband or partner (includes same sex relationship)

c)    The employee can take 1 or 2 weeks off (together)

d)   The employee must be notified

–      when the baby is due/ to be adopted

–      whether 1 or 2 weeks will be taken

–      when the leave will start.  It must be, at the earliest, after the baby is born and up to 56 days from then.

e)   OPL qualifies for the same levels of pay as Ordinary Maternity Leave. 


a)   The same qualifications as under a) for OPL must apply. 

b)   The mother or adopter must have been entitled to Statutory Maternity Leave/Pay/Allowance or Statutory Adoption Leave/Pay and to have returned to work and ceased to claim any relevant pay.

c)    APL is for a maximum of 26 weeks and if the mother/partner has returned to work it can be taken between 20 weeks and one year after birth /adoption.

The future?  There is talk of bringing in a 12 months shared parental leave with mothers taking the first two months and then sharing the rest.  The system could prove extremely disruptive and there is public consultation on the options.  It is unlikely any such measures would be in place before 2015, however.

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