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  • Sophie Forrest

Government announces more choice and flexibility for fathers taking paternity leave

The Government commenced consultation on reforming parental leave and pay back in 2019, but any further progress was unfortunately delayed by the pandemic. The consultation was to consider how parental leave and pay could be adapted to create greater equality in parenting whilst working. The Government are now in a position to re-commence the consultation.

The current legislation allows eligible employees to take two weeks of paternity leave and receive statutory paternity pay. The leave can either be in a one or two-week block, to be taken during the first eight weeks after a child is born or adopted.

The changes the Government will be making will give employed fathers more choice and flexibility around how and when they take paternity leave.

The changes will mean fathers will be able to split their leave into two blocks of one week. This will provide more flexibility than only one block of one week or two weeks under the current legislation.

Fathers will also no longer be restricted from having to take their paternity leave within the first eight weeks of the birth or adoption of their child. They will have the choice to take their leave and pay at any point in the first year after the birth or adoption of their child.

The new regulations will also change the way an employee gives notice of leave and pay to their employer. Fathers or partners will need to give notice that they intend to take leave 15 weeks before the expected week of childbirth (EWC) or matching/ placement date, and then 4 weeks’ notice of dates prior to each period of leave.

It is anticipated that these changes will create more flexibility for fathers wishing to take paternity leave.

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