Can an employer request that an employee defer their paternity leave?
No, provided that the employee has given the employer proper notice of the dates on which they wish to take paternity leave, the employer may not postpone or defer the period of leave.
Paternity leave is a period of one or two weeks' leave taken by an eligible employee within eight weeks of the birth or adoption of a child. The employee must give notice of the dates on which they wish to take paternity leave no later than the 15th week before the expected week of birth (or as soon as practicable thereafter). In an adoption situation, the employee must give notice no later than seven days after the adoption agency notifies the adopter of the match with the child (or as soon as practicable thereafter).
The employer has no say in the timing of the employee's paternity leave, other than being able to insist on the required notice.