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Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP)

Statutory Paternity Leave

New fathers may be entitled to one or two weeks’ Statutory Paternity Leave even if more than one child (eg twins) is born.

Statutory Paternity Leave cannot start before the birth of the child/children. The start date must be one of the following:

  • The actual date of birth
  • An agreed number of days after the birth
  • An agreed number of days after the expected week of childbirth

Statutory Paternity Leave must finish within 56 days of the birth (or due date if the baby is early). The start and end dates are different if the employee is adopting.

In order to qualify the employee must have been in continuous employment (with the same employer) for at least 26 weeks prior to the ‘notification week’ (NW).

The ‘notification week’ for Statutory Paternity Leave is 15 weeks before the baby’s due date.

Can an employee take SPL unpaid?

Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP)

Statutory Paternity Pay for employees who are eligible is either £138.18 a week or 90% of their average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).

Paternity pay can only be paid while the employee is on paternity leave. Paternity pay is subject to Tax and National Insurance deductions.
Paying Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) is their employer’s legal obligation.

Extra leave or pay

A further 26 weeks Additional Paternity Leave and Statutory Paternity Pay, on top of their entitlement of up to 2 weeks, could be taken if:

  • Their partner returns to work and they qualify for Additional Paternity Leave and Pay
  • Your company scheme offers more

You must make sure your paternity leave and pay policies are clear and easily accessible to staff.

Additional Paternity Leave can be taken for a maximum of 26 weeks, between 20 weeks and one year after the child is born or placed for adoption.

The father must be either:

  • The biological father of the child, or
  • The mother’s husband or partner (including same-sex partnerships), or
  • The child’s adopter, or
  • The husband or partner (including same-sex partnerships) of the child’s adopter, and
  • The father must be taking leave to care for the child, and
  • The mother must have been entitled to receive either Statutory Maternity Pay, Maternity Allowance or Statutory Adoption Leave or Pay and:
  • Must have returned to work and
  • Ceased claiming any relevant SMP, MA or SAP

An employee can get more Statutory Paternity Leave or Statutory Paternity Pay :

If the child is born early

If the child is born early, the employee is still eligible if they’ve worked for you continuously for at least 26 weeks by the expected week of childbirth.

If the baby dies

Employees still qualify for leave and pay if the baby is either:

  • Stillborn from 24 weeks of pregnancy
  • Born alive at any point in the pregnancy but later dies

Employment rights

An employee’s employment rights (like the right to pay, holidays and returning to a job) are protected during paternity leave.

2. Eligibility
Employees must:

  • Have worked for you continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (known as the ‘qualifying week’)
  • Be classed as an employee (paternity leave only)
  • Be employed by you up to the date the child is born (or placed with the adopter) (paternity pay only)
  • Be on your payroll and earn at least £109 a week (gross) in an 8 week ‘relevant period’ (paternity pay only)
  • Give you the correct notice
  • Be taking time off to look after the child
  • Be responsible for the child’s upbringing

The qualifying week is different if the employee is adopting.

They must also be one of the following, the:

  • Father
  • Husband or partner of the mother (or adopter)
  • Child’s adopter

Calculate an employee’s qualifying week, relevant period, notice period and paternity pay using the maternity and paternity calculator.

If the child is born early

If the child is born early, the employee is still eligible if they’ve worked for you continuously for at least 26 weeks by the expected week of childbirth.

Calculate an employee’s qualifying week, relevant period, notice period and paternity pay using the maternity and paternity calculator.

3. Notice period

The notice periods and forms are different if the employee is adopting.

Employees must tell you at least 15 weeks before the week the baby is expected:

  • The baby’s due date
  • When they want their leave to start – they can change this with 28 days’ notice
  • How much leave they want

Notice doesn’t have to be in writing unless you request it.

Statutory Paternity Pay

Employees must request paternity pay at least 28 days before they want it to start using form SC3 (or your own version). Take a copy and give the original back to the employee.

Late notice

You can delay the leave or pay start date if the employee doesn’t have a reasonable excuse for giving you the wrong amount of notice. To delay it, write to them within 28 days of their leave request.

Paternity leave must be taken within a period of 56 days over consecutive weeks, beginning with the date on which the child is born, or, in the case of adoption, on the date on which adoption is approved. SPP is paid either at the statutory rate or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings, whichever is the lowest. For the current rate of SPP, please refer to the Rates and Thresholds page. If the employee qualifies for Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) it is their employer’s legal obligation to pay it.

Additional Paternity Leave

To qualify for Additional Paternity Leave:

The father must be an employee and have been employed for at least 26 weeks by either:

  • The end of the 15th week before the start of week when the baby is due (also known as the Notification Week) or,
  • The end of the week in which the father is notified that he has been matched with a child for adoption, and

The father must be either:

  • The biological father of the child, or
  • The mother’s husband or partner (including same-sex partnerships), or
  • The child’s adopter, or
  • The husband or partner (including same-sex partnerships) of the child’s adopter, and
  • The father must be taking leave to care for the child, and
  • The mother must have been entitled to receive either Statutory Maternity Pay, Maternity Allowance or Statutory Adoption Leave or Pay and:
  • Must have returned to work and
  • Ceased claiming any relevant SMP, MA or SAP

Additional Paternity Pay

In order to qualify for Additional SPP the father must be employed, earning at least the Lower Earnings Limit and his employer must be paying employer’s NI contributions on his behalf. The father must also meet the criteria as above for Additional Paternity Leave, and the mother must have returned to work with at least 2 weeks of the Maternity or Adoption pay period remaining.

Additional Statutory Paternity Pay is only payable to the father during the period of the mother’s 39 week Maternity Allowance, Statutory Maternity or Statutory Adoption Pay period.

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