Who is entitled to paternity leave?

Ordinary Paternity Leave is the right for a woman’s partner to take one or two weeks’ leave around the time of the birth or adoption. The leave is intended to help care for a new baby or to support the mother, so it must be taken within eight weeks of birth or adoption. You are entitled to Ordinary Paternity Leave if:

  • you have been continuously employed by your current employer for 26 weeks or more by the 15th week before the baby is due; and
  • you are the father of the child and expect to have responsibility for the child; or
  • you are married to, or are the partner of, the child’s mother, but are not the child’s father, and you expect to have the main responsibility along with the mother for the upbringing of the child.

Ordinary Paternity Leave applies to people in same-sex partnerships as well as heterosexual couples.

Ordinary Paternity Leave is paid at either £140.98 or 90% of earnings, whichever is lower. Your employer may have a policy of paying more generously than this, especially if a union is recognised where you work and has been able to negotiate improvements to the basic statutory scheme.

You must be an employee to qualify for Ordinary Paternity Leave.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.