If you are a man expecting the birth of your child, you may be entitled to statutory paternity leave. It is not an option for everyone though, as you must meet certain criteria. You must have responsibility for the child and either be the biological father or the husband/partner of the mother of the child. In addition, there are set rules on your continuous service criteria with your employer, which is 26 weeks. There are also other specific rules on this timeframe, with regards to both biological and adoption rights. Statutory paternity leave is 1 or 2 weeks and it must be taken within 56 days of the birth of the child. Legally, the father has options available to him if he believes he is being treated unfairly with regards to his statutory paternity leave rights, however, this is not something employers are obligated to let employees know about.
Statutory Paternity Pay.
In order to have entitlement to paternity pay, there is an earnings test you need to meet. If your earnings are too low, i.e. they don’t meet with the lower earnings limit, you would not be entitled to statutory paternity pay. The rate of the paternity pay at the moment is £139.58. If your average earnings for the week are lower, you would pay this value instead. Paternity pay is paid either on a monthly or weekly basis, depending on the way your wages are usually paid and you will be liable to pay National Insurance on these earnings. If you decide to take additional time, beyond the statutory leave, you will not be paid for this. You are entitled to give your employer 28 days’ notice, if you want to change the date of your statutory leave. Some companies have their own scheme in place for paternity leave, which would always be more than the statutory pay, it would never be less.
There have subsequently been changes made to the SPP1 Form (or the Non-Payment of Statutory Paternity Pay), with the notice period being amended. The SPP1 form is available on the government website, www.gov.uk and is a form which is used to inform employees as to why they might not be entitled to SPP. The reasons may be that the employee has not been employed for long enough to be entitled to it, there is not enough evidence to support entitlement, they are receiving sick pay or that they have not given enough notice.
The recent changes which have been made to the notice period are that it has changed from 28 days to 15 weeks. If an employee is not entitled to paternity pay, there is no other allowance they can claim and the SPP1 is used as information for the employee. This is the same as the rules which apply to the maternity pay. If you don’t meet with the specific criteria which is set, you will not be entitled to the pay and there is no other allowance available.