Paternity leave and pay

Clio Springer

Editor's message: Fathers and partners have a right to take a short period of leave, with pay, to care for their new son or daughter around the time of the child’s birth or adoption. Some employers provide for a longer period of paternity leave and/or more generous pay than the statutory minimum and adopt policies aimed at demonstrating their intention to support fathers in their workforce.

The importance of the role of employers has been highlighted with the House of Commons Women and Equalities Select Committee carrying out an inquiry into how fathers can be better supported in the workplace. The inquiry follows research from Working Families that highlights the risk of a "fatherhood penalty" and recommends, among other things, the “creation of a properly paid period of extended paternity leave”.

Additional paternity leave and pay, for up to 26 weeks, was introduced from April 2011. However, in a bid to encourage shared parenting and give parents more choice around the arrangements that they make to care for their new child, it was replaced in April 2015 with the more flexible shared parental leave and pay.

You can take positive steps to engage employees who are expectant or existing fathers by adopting policies on paternity and parental leave that make clear your commitment to supporting employees who exercise their paternity rights.

Clio Springer, senior employment law editor

New and updated