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Paid Paternity Leave Rights for Fathers

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 30 Apr 2013 | comments*Discuss
Paternity Leave Fathers Rights Employers

Many fathers are unaware or unsure of their right to paid paternity leave. Under new government plans fathers will be able to take six month’s paternity leave.

Fathers Missing Out on Paid Paternity Leave

Recent surveys by the Working Families group show that one in ten fathers still do not take paternity leave. At least a fifth of fathers are unaware whether their employers actually offered any sort of flexible working arrangements. Nearly 91% of fathers feel it is important to have the option for paid paternity leave, especially when their children are under five years of age. A number of fathers surveyed claimed that they could not take paternity leave as they could not afford to take time off. But two weeks paid paternity leave for fathers is a right at present and this looks set to be extended in the future.

Existent Paternity Leave Rights for Fathers

Under the present laws fathers are entitled to two weeks paid paternity leave from their employers. This right exists if fathers have worked for their employer for 26 weeks by the 15th week before the baby is expected to be born. Fathers also have the right to 13 weeks unpaid paternity leave until the child is five years old. Some employers also offer flexible working hours for fathers that are available on request. At present the paid paternity leave for fathers is £123.06 per week.

Government Plans for Paid Paternity Leave for Fathers

The government has announced plans to permit fathers to take up to six months paternity leave. But the new plans do not mean working fathers are entitled to six months of paid paternity leave. Under the new plans fathers have the legal right to take three months of the mother’s paid paternity leave while the mother returns to work. Alternatively, a father can take the mother’s place at home for the last three months of the mother’s nine month maternity leave. The paid paternity leave would still be £123.06 for the three months and fathers can request an extra three months of unpaid paternity leave.

Start Date for the New Rights for Paternity Leave for Fathers

If the new legislation is pushed through in April the new paternity leave rights will affect parents who have children due on the 3rd April 2011. The new rights are designed to give parents more flexibility and to allow fathers to have more of a role in the children’s lives from an early age. It can also be a chance for mothers to earn money while the father assumes the mother’s role in the house. This could be financially beneficial for families where the mother earns more money than the father. It also allows fathers to have a more active role with their children from an early age.

Guideline on Rights for Fathers Paternity Leave

Until the new legislation is approved by the government there are still rules that apply to working father’s paternity leave. These rules include:

  • Paternity leave cannot start before the baby is born
  • Paternity leave must be taken within 56 days of the baby being born
  • To qualify for statutory paternity leave the father must have been employed with their employer for at least 26 weeks
  • The father must be the biological parent, child’s adopter, husband or partner, including same sex relationships
  • Employers should be informed by 15 weeks before the baby is due to be born, at the latest
  • Paternity leave is for two weeks and can be taken in one block or broken into one week segments
  • Self certificate forms must be given to employers at least 28 days before paternity leave is due to begin
  • Problems obtaining paid paternity leave should be discussed with employers, union representatives and employment tribunals
Although a great amount of information available, survey statistics show that not all fathers are aware of their rights. Groups such as the Working Families organisation, Direct Government and Citizen’s Advice can provide information and advice on paternity rights for fathers. Organisations such as the Fatherhood Institute also provide helpful information for fathers on a number of different issues. Fathers should also ask their employers or human resources department if they have certain flexible options available for paternity leave.

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