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Paternity Leave: What Are UK Daddies Entitled To?

If you have the pitter patter of tiny feet on the horizon, and you’re starting to plan taking paternity read, this could be a useful read.

First of all, congratulations on your happy news!  It’s such an exciting time; from the first positive test, to the first scan, feeling kicks and then anticipating the birth, it’s a rollercoaster of emotions that you will NEVER forget. Of course, daddy is likely to be looking into taking some paternity leave. He could be entitled to claim statutory paternity pay through his employer, which is paid by the UK Government. Some employers will also offer company paternity pay on top of this if you’re lucky!

What Statutory Paternity Leave am I Entitled To?

To qualify for statutory paternity pay, you must;

You must also be…

You must be taking time off to look after the new baby and be;

  • the dad
  • the husband or partner of the mother (or adopter) – this includes same-sex partners!
  • the child’s adopter
  • the intended parent if your baby is being born through a surrogate

How long is Statutory Paternity Leave?

You can take either one or two weeks. Not very long! Many daddies also choose to book a big chunk of annual leave off around this time too. If you want to change the start date, you need to give 28 days notice, but it can be taken straight from the birth if baby comes early or late. Leave must end within 56 days of the birth (if you take your leave a few weeks after the birth, this may apply).

How much will I get paid on Statutory Paternity Leave?

The statutory weekly rate of Paternity Pay is £148.68, or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). Tax and National Insurance will be deducted. It’s worth asking if your company offers company paternity pay too, as many do.

What Are My Employment Rights When I am on Paternity Leave?

Good news, daddies. Like with mummies, your employment rights are protected by UK law. This means;

  • You’re entitled to the same pay rises as your colleagues
  • You’ll still build up (accrue) holiday leave.
  • You’ll be entitled to return to work.

You can also get time off to accompany your partner (or the surrogate) to 2 antenatal appointments, so the 12 and 20 week scans. Not much good for higher risk mums who need LOADS of appointments, though – if you’re able to tweak your shift pattern or use holiday to accommodate extra antenatal appointments and go with mum, that’s great. She’ll appreciate your support!

If you’re adopting a child, you can get time off to go to two adoption appointments after you’ve been matched with a child. How exciting!

I’m Not Entitled To Any Leave – What Can I Do?

This is truly a difficult scenario. My husband wasn’t entitled to any paternity leave when I had our son as he hadn’t worked at his job for long enough, but his boss was incredibly helpful and allowed him to take two weeks of holiday at full pay from the moment we knew our son was definitely coming. Of course, not all employers will be this accommodating, but it is worth asking for some help. If you’re able to, and have an idea of the due date, trying to book off annual leave could be a good idea.

Another suggestion we’ve had for daddies in this situation; see if other close family, such as grandparents, siblings etc are willing to book some time off around the due date just in case you can’t get time off, or can’t get long off work. You’d be surprised how willing many grandmamas would be!

What is ‘Shared Parental Leave’?

If the above applies to you, you may be able to claim shared parental leave! Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) are becoming increasingly popular with the mummies and daddies in our community. It allows you and mum to share parental leave after the birth; if mum doesn’t want to take the full 9 months paid and wants to return to work earlier, this could be a great solution for you.

How do I claim SPL?

The criteria for eligibility is;

  • you must share responsibility for the child when they’re born
  • meet work and pay criteria – these are different depending on which parent wants to use the shared parental leave and pay. You can find this criteria here 

You’re not eligible if you started sharing responsibility for the child after it was born. Find out more about SPL here!

We hope that this has helped to answer any questions! If you’re a daddy who wasn’t entitled to claim SPL, how did you manage? What plans were put in place? Share with us in the comments!

Love from Katie. Xx

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