Outlook video: statutory additional paternity pay
XpertHR's head of content Jo Stubbs and senior employment law editor Clio Springer discuss statutory additional paternity pay, which some employees taking advantage of the new right to statutory additional paternity leave will be entitled to receive.
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The questions in full:
Will all employees who are entitled to statutory additional paternity leave be entitled to statutory additional paternity pay?
No, some of the qualification requirements for statutory additional paternity pay match those for statutory additional paternity leave. For example, the employee must have been employed for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks ending with the 15th week before the week the child is expected to be born, and remain in continuous employment with the employer until the week before the statutory additional paternity pay/leave period begins.
But to be entitled to receive statutory additional paternity pay, the employee must also have average weekly earnings of at least the lower earnings limit for national insurance purposes, currently £97 (and rising to £102 in April 2011). The employee’s average weekly earnings are calculated over the period of eight weeks ending with the 15th week before the expected week of birth.
This sounds similar to the service and pay eligibility requirements to receive one or two weeks’ statutory ordinary paternity pay - are there any additional criteria that have to be satisfied?
Yes, for the employee to be entitled to statutory additional paternity pay, the mother of the child must have become entitled to either statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance by becoming pregnant with the child. A woman may qualify for maternity allowance if she has, for example, insufficient service to qualify for statutory maternity pay, or is self-employed. She must also have returned to work while she has at least two weeks of her statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance period outstanding.
So assuming the mother returns to work with at least two weeks of her statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance period outstanding, will the father be paid for any period of additional paternity leave that he takes?
Not necessarily. He will only be paid for any period of leave that coincides with the part of the mother’s statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance period that remains untaken. The full maternity pay or maternity allowance period is 39 weeks, so this is the maximum period for which the couple can receive a combination of statutory maternity and statutory additional paternity pay.
So can the mother begin her maternity leave and pay when the child is born, and then return to work after, say, four weeks, leaving the father to take the remaining 35 weeks of the maternity pay period as paid additional paternity leave?
No. There are rules about when the father can begin his additional paternity leave. He cannot do this until 20 weeks after the child’s birth, even if the mother returns to work much sooner. This means that the maximum paid period of leave that a father can take is 19 weeks, and this would be in the situation where the mother began her maternity pay period on the birth of the child and did not use any of it up beforehand. But, of course, in many cases, women choose to start their maternity leave and pay several weeks before the child is expected - they can arrange to start it up to 11 weeks before the expected week of childbirth - and if they do, this will reduce the amount of their available 39-week maternity pay or allowance period that coincides with time running from 20 weeks after the birth.
We know from the discussion in last July’s outlook video that additional paternity leave has to be taken in multiples of a week and that the minimum period that can be taken is two weeks. Does the same rule apply to additional paternity pay?
No. So long as the mother returns with two weeks of her statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance period outstanding, there is no necessity for the father to take these outstanding two weeks as minimum paid leave. He could, for example, choose to begin his paid paternity leave while there is only one week, or even one day, of the potential 39-week maternity pay or maternity allowance period outstanding, although of course he would then be paid for only the one week or day - the important thing is that the mother returned to work while there were still two weeks outstanding. And if the mother returns with, say, five and a half weeks of her maternity pay or maternity allowance period outstanding, the father can take advantage of the part week - his additional paternity pay period is not limited to multiples of a week.
Outlook video - statutory additional paternity leave
July 2010 outlook video We discuss the new right for fathers to take additional paternity leave where their partner returns to work before taking her full year's maternity leave.
Employment law manual
Up-to-date model paternity leave policy
Company paternity policy Use this model policy to set out your employees' paternity rights where the child's expected week of birth is on or after 3 April 2011. It should be used in conjunction with our updated maternity policy.
See the XpertHR policies and documents section, for the full range of model letters, contract clauses, forms, and policies and procedures relating to paternity rights.
FAQs on additional paternity leave and pay
See the XpertHR FAQs section for the answers to further questions on additional paternity leave and pay, including:
- Which employees will be able to benefit from the new right to additional paternity leave?
- Which employees qualify for additional paternity leave?
- Is there a specific time period when additional paternity leave can be taken?
- Can an employer ask an employee for proof that he or she qualifies for additional paternity leave?
- Are employees entitled to be paid during additional paternity leave?
- Where an employee takes ordinary or additional paternity leave followed immediately by more than four weeks' parental leave, is he entitled to return to his original job?
- Are the 10 keeping-in-touch days during maternity, adoption and additional paternity leave pro-rated for part-time employees?
- In what circumstances is an employee entitled to receive statutory paternity pay?
- For how many weeks may an employee be paid additional statutory paternity pay?
- If an employer offers contractual maternity pay above the statutory rate is it obliged to offer enhanced contractual paternity pay?