Letter responding to a request to take a period of paid paternity leave in a birth situation confirming entitlement to the leave but not to be paid for it
Author: Jo Stubbs
When to use this model paternity leave letter
Use this model letter in a birth situation to respond to an employee's request to take a period of paid statutory paternity leave, confirming that the employee is entitled to take the leave requested but is not entitled to receive statutory paternity pay.
Dear [ ]
Thank you for advising us that you intend to take [one week's/two weeks'] paid paternity leave [from the predetermined date of [date]/beginning on the date on which your child is born/beginning [number] days after your child is born].
We confirm that you are eligible to take [one week's/two weeks'] statutory paternity leave as requested. If you wish at a later date to change the dates of your paternity leave, you must notify [name] no later than 28 days before your intended revised start date.
[The statutory entitlement is to take one or two weeks' paternity leave and I note that you have indicated your intention to take only one week's leave. You should be aware that your statutory entitlement is to take a single block of paternity leave. As you have chosen to take only one week's paternity leave, you will not be entitled to take any further paternity leave at another time in respect of the same child.]
Please note that you should inform me of your child's date of birth as soon as possible after the child has been born. [You should use the enclosed form to do this.]
[As you have chosen to start your paternity leave on a predetermined date, ie [date], if your child is not born on or before this date, you must change the start date of your leave, and provide us with notice of the new date as soon as reasonably practicable. This may be a later predetermined date, the child's date of birth or a date falling a specified number of days after the child's birth.]
During your period of paternity leave, all the terms of your contract of employment, except your [salary/wages] will continue.
Although, as indicated above, you are eligible to take the paternity leave that you have requested, unfortunately, as your average weekly earnings are not sufficiently high, you are not entitled to receive statutory paternity pay during the leave.
You and your partner may wish to take shared parental leave. Your partner is able to commit to ending his/her maternity leave early, and to share the untaken balance of leave as shared parental leave with you. Further details may be obtained from [name of individual/the HR department].
In the meantime, please contact me if you have any queries regarding your paternity entitlements.
How to use this document
This is an example document and should be adapted to suit your circumstances.
Law relating to this document
Leading statutory authority
Paternity and Adoption Leave
Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2788)
Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay (General) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2822)
The entitlement to paternity leave is to take one or two weeks' paternity leave in a single block within the period of 56 days beginning with the date of the child's birth. The employee can choose to begin the leave on the date on which the child is born, on a date falling a specified number of days after the child's birth (for example, 10 days after the child's birth), or on a predetermined date after the first day of the child's expected week of birth.
In a birth situation, in order to be eligible for paternity leave, an employee must be the father of the child or married to or the civil partner or partner of the child's mother. The employee must expect to have responsibility for the upbringing of the child and be taking the leave to care for the child or support the child's mother. The definition of "partner" includes same-sex partners (although for simplicity this document refers to the employee as "he").
The employee must have at least 26 weeks' service, as at the end of the 15th week before the week in which the child is due to be born.
The employee must give notice of his intention to take paternity leave by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of birth, unless this is not reasonably practicable, in which case the employee should give notice as soon as reasonably practicable. The notice, which must be in writing if the employer so requests, must specify the expected week of the child's birth, the intended start date of the leave and the length of the leave.
If the employer so requires, the employee must also give the employer a signed declaration confirming that the purpose of the requested leave is to care for the child or support the child's mother, and that he satisfies the conditions regarding his relationship with the child or the child's mother.
To be entitled to statutory paternity pay, the employee must have average weekly earnings of at least the lower earnings limit for national insurance purposes (see Statutory paternity pay in the Statutory rates section). At least 28 days before the date on which the employee expects the employer's liability to pay statutory paternity pay to begin, he must state in writing: his name; the expected week of birth and, where the birth has already occurred, the date of birth; the date from which he wishes to receive paternity pay; and whether it is to be payable for a week or two weeks. He must also confirm that the purpose of his absence will be to care for the child or support the mother, and that he satisfies the conditions regarding his relationship with the child or the child's mother and responsibility for the child's upbringing.
Where the employee has applied to receive statutory paternity pay, but the employer considers that it has no liability to pay it, the employer must respond within 28 days giving details of its decision and the reasons for it.
Once the child has been born, the employee must give the employer further notice, in writing if requested, of the date on which the child was born.
Shared parental leave enables mothers to commit to ending their maternity leave and pay at a future date, and to share the untaken balance of leave and pay as shared parental leave and pay with their partner, or to return to work early from maternity leave and opt in to shared parental leave and pay at a later date.
This letter should be used where the employee has requested paid paternity leave, but, although entitled to the leave, is not entitled to be paid statutory paternity pay during it because of insufficient average weekly earnings.
Where the employee has applied for statutory paternity pay, but is not entitled to receive it, the employer is obliged to respond setting out the reason for the ineligibility.