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Paternity Leave and Pay: What are you entitled to?

Bonding with your baby
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Having a baby with your partner is an amazing experience for the both of you and no doubt you want to spend as much time as possible supporting your partner and bonding with your baby. Instead of having to return to work the following day or waiting until you book holiday, now if you and your partner are having or adopting a baby, you may be entitled to 1 to 2 weeks paid paternity leave and up to 26 week paid additional Paternity leave.

Do you qualify for Paternity leave?

In order to qualify, you must either be the father, the husband or partner of the mother or adopter, or the child’s adopter. You need to have worked continuously for at least 26 weeks with the same employer prior to the ‘qualifying week’ which is 15 weeks before the babies due date, and provided the correct notice. To qualify for paternity pay, you must have worked at least 26 weeks continuously for your employer prior to the qualifying week, earn at least £109 a week (before tax) and given the correct notice. (Correct notice being telling your employer in writing, at least 15 weeks before the baby is due and providing the due date, whether you want 1 or 2 weeks leave and when you would like that to start). To claim your paternity pay at the same time, you should give them at least 28 days notice and complete a SC3 form, or your employers own version of this. Your employer then has 28 days to write back and inform you of your paternity pay and leave. If you are entitled to paternity pay you will receive £136.78 per week or 90% of your weekly earnings, whichever is lower. Some employers may have an additional paternity scheme which may pay more and you may be able to take additional unpaid paternity leave. However, you can’t start or claim paternity leave or pay until the baby is born.

Paternity dad with babyAdditional Paternity leave of up to 26 weeks

If your partner has to return to work, you may also claim additional paternity leave which can be between 2 and 26 weeks depending on the maternity leave your partner has already used. Leave can begin 20 weeks after your child’s birth but must stop before the child is 1 year old. Like with ordinary paternity pay, you must still qualify for additional paternity pay in the same way and any change to your start and finish dates must be done with 28 days notice. Additional paternity pay is £136.78 or 90% of your weekly earnings if that is less and will be paid to you in the same way as your regular wage.

Adoption Paternity leave rules

If you are adopting a child, the rules are slightly different. The qualifying week would be regarded as the ‘matching week’ which is the end of the week in which you are matched with your child, the date the child enters the UK or date you wish your pay to start. If your partner was giving birth to your child, your paternity leave would not start until then, however, if you are adopting, your paternity leave can begin either on the day of placement, on an agreed date after placement or the date in which the child arrives in the UK . To claim paternity pay and leave when adopting, you would fill in in either a SC4 form for UK adoptions or a SC5 for overseas adoptions. Whether you are adopting or your partner is giving birth, you employer should be able to guide you through the process and allow you that special time with your new addition.

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About Rebecca Robinson

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About Rebecca Robinson

After spending the last 8 years juggling life as a mum of two, wife and working full time as a Project Manager for a global telecommunications company, Rebecca Robinson made the decision to follow her love of writing and took the plunge; turning her passion into a full time career. Since becoming a full time writer, Rebecca has worked with various media and copy-writing companies and with the ability to make any topic relevant and interesting to the reader, now contributes to The Working Parent on articles ranging from credit cards to teenage relationships. Ever the optimist, Rebecca's dreams for the future include a house in the country filled with children, dogs and horses in the field!

Website: Rebecca Robinson

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