Under new regulations, mothers of babies born on or after 3 April 2011 will now be able to transfer up to six months of their maternity leave to the baby’s father when they return to work. But a new survey from the charity Working Families has revealed that 40% of employers have yet to prepare for the change in legislation.
Read on to make sure your business is up to date with the latest changes to maternity and paternity leave.
If a new father meets the following criteria and his partner is returning or has returned to work, he could have the right to additional paternity leave and additional paternity pay:
* he is the father of a child due on or after 3 April 2011
* his wife or partner is pregnant and due to give birth to a child on or after 3 April 2011
* he and his partner receive notification that they are matched with a child for adoption on or after 3 April 2011
* his spouse, civil partner or partner (including same-sex relationships) is adopting a child from overseas and the child enters Great Britain on or after 3 April 2011.
Additional paternity leave (APL)
APL can extend for a maximum of 26 weeks. If the father’s partner has returned to work, the leave can be taken between 20 weeks and one year after their child is born or placed for adoption. A father may be entitled to receive additional statutory paternity pay during his partner’s statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance or adoption pay period. To qualify for additional paternity leave the father must hold employee status.
To qualify for leave, he must have been with their employer for at least 26 weeks’ by the qualifying week either:
* the end of the 15th week before the start of the week when the baby is due
* the end of the week they are notified that they are matched with a child (adopting within the UK)
* the date the child enters Great Britain for the purposes of adoption (adopting from overseas).
Fathers must also still be employed with that employer the week, which runs Sunday to Saturday, before they want to start their leave.
Fathers must be taking the time off to care for the child and child’s mother or adopter who herself must also :
* have been entitled to one or more of the following – statutory maternity leave, statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance or statutory adoption leave or pay
* have returned to work and ceased claiming any relevant pay.
Fathers do, of course, continue to be an employee throughout any period of additional paternity leave, unless the contract of employment is expressly ended by either party.
Additional statutory paternity pay (ASPP) ASPP is paid if the father takes additional paternity leave and is not working for the purposes of caring for the child, during his partner’s statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance or statutory adoption pay period. The rate for 2011/12 is £128.73 a week or 90% of average weekly earnings, if that is less.
To qualify for additional statutory paternity pay, the father must be an employed earner i.e. working for someone who is liable to pay the employer’s share of class 1 National Insurance contributions and also earning at least the lower earnings limit for National Insurance contributions in force at the end of the qualifying week.
The mother or adopter must have:
* returned to work and
* stopped claiming any relevant pay, with at least two weeks of unexpired statutory pay period remaining.
Additional statutory paternity pay is only payable during the period of the mother’s 39 week maternity allowance, statutory maternity or statutory adoption pay period.
Fathers may also have the right to take unpaid additional paternity leave if they meet the eligibility criteria for leave but not pay. All additional paternity leave taken after the end of the statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance or statutory adoption pay period is however unpaid.
Ordinary paternity leave (OPL) and ordinary paternity pay (OPP) The existing statutory entitlement for the two weeks leave taken around the time of birth/adoption will not change