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So long as you’ve been working for your current employer for 26 continuous weeks, 15 weeks before your baby is due, you’ll be entitled to paternity leave. You will also need to be the biological father, mother’s husband or partner, and intend to be involved in bringing up your child.
There are two different types of Paternity Leave – spend some time discussing with your partner which option will be best for both of you.
If you opt to take paid Paternity Leave, you’ll need to take it all in one go, and it must be completed within 56 days of the birth. If you want to change the dates of your Paternity Leave, that’s fine; you just need to give your employer 28 days’ notice if that’s possible.
Shared Parental Leave lets you share leave with your partner. You can take it in blocks separated by periods of work, but your partner must:
The eligibility criteria are more complex than that of Paternity Leave – you can find them here or speak to your employer about your options.
When arranging your Paternity or Shared Parental Leave, be sure to give your employer as much notice as possible. Ideally, this would mean letting them know when your partner is around 25 weeks pregnant. Of course, you can’t be sure when your baby is going to arrive, but you may find your employer will be flexible with dates.
If your company doesn’t offer paid Paternity Leave, providing you meet the above criteria and earn £90 or more (before tax) per week, you should be eligible for Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP). SPP works out at either £139.58 a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). In addition to this, you may be able to apply for more financial support, like Income Support. Your employer or your local Jobcentre will advise you of your options.
Want to know what leave you may be entitled to? Here are some steps to finding out:
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