The Government is seeking to encourage more “family friendly” labour practices. The entitlements to parental and paternity leave are part of this plan and apply to children born or adopted after 15.12.99.
The entitlement to parental leave is acquired after one years’ continuous service with the same employer – where the employee is registered as father of the child on the birth certificate or who has otherwise acquired parental responsibility. Parental leave may be taken by the child’s natural (or adoptive) mother or father.
The entitlement to take parental leave is between the child’s birth and 5th birthday and the amount of leave is 13 weeks in aggregate (18 weeks where the child is eligible for Disability Living Allowance in which case leave may be taken until the child attains 18 years).
Leave must ordinarily be taken in blocks of one week at a time – subject to a maximum of four weeks in a year.
The entitlement to Paternity leave accrues after 26 weeks continuous employment ending with the week preceding the 14th week before the expected date of birth.
The right is for a father to take time away from work to care for a child or to support the mother in doing so.
The father must give his employers notice of his intention to take paternity leave (before the 15th week before the expected date of birth or if not possible, as soon as practicable).
The father is entitled to return to his job without suffering “detriment” (for example, denial of promotion or training opportunities) at the end of the paternity period.
Providing that the father’s earnings were above the threshold at which National Insurance Contributions become payable, he will be entitled to statutory paternity/adoption pay at the rate of 90% of his usual earnings up to a maximum of £139.58 pw in 2016.