What notice to take paternity leave and pay in respect of a new baby is an employee required to give?

The Paternity and Adoption Leave Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2788) provide that an employee must give notice to take paternity leave in or before the 15th week before the expected week of the child's birth. In cases where such notice is not reasonably practicable (for example, if the employee was not aware of the pregnancy at that point), the employee must give the required notice as soon as is reasonably practicable.

The Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay (General) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2822) provide that the employee must provide evidence of entitlement to statutory paternity pay at least 28 days before the date on which the employee wishes the pay period to start, or, if that is not reasonably practicable, as soon as is reasonably practicable.

The period of notice required to take paternity leave is more than the notice required to receive statutory paternity pay. In practice the employee need give only one notice, provided that it is in writing and in accordance with all the statutory requirements in relation to both leave and pay.

The notice given by the employee in respect of leave must state:

  • the expected week of birth;
  • whether the employee intends to take one or two consecutive weeks' leave; and
  • the date on which the employee wants the leave to start.

For statutory paternity pay purposes, the notice must state:

  • the employee's name;
  • the expected week of birth, or date of birth if the child has already been born;
  • whether paternity is to be payable for a week or two weeks; and
  • the date on which the employee wants the pay period to start.

For statutory paternity pay purposes, the employee must also provide a signed declaration that the purpose of the leave is to care for the child or to support the child's mother and that he is the child's father or the mother's partner and expects to have responsibility for the upbringing of the child. (If the employee is applying for paternity leave, but not pay, he must provide such a written declaration only if the employer requests it.)

The employee must give his or her employer a further notice, as soon as is reasonably practicable after the child's birth, of the date on which the child was born.