Taking Additional Paternity Leave
If you are entitled to take Additional Paternity Leave, there are steps you need to follow to tell your employer you want to take it. There are also rules about when you can start your leave and how long you can take.
Telling your employer you wish to take Additional Paternity Leave
You must tell your employer in writing at least eight weeks before you want to start your leave. You can use form SC7 (for births), SC8 (for UK adoptions) or SC9 (for overseas adoptions). It is a good idea to check if your employer has their own version of the form.
This must include:
- when the baby was due, the date you matched for adoption or (for overseas adoption) officially notified of the adoption
- the actual date of the baby’s birth, placement for adoption or (for overseas adoptions) entry into Northern Ireland
- when you want to start and finish your Additional Paternity Leave and Pay (the leave and pay dates may be different if you are taking some unpaid leave)
- that you are taking leave to care for the child
The form must also include that you are either:
- the father of the child
- the spouse, civil partner or partner (including same-sex relationships) of the mother or adopter taking adoption leave
You must also confirm that, in the case of adoptions, you have the main responsibility (apart from that of the mother or adopter) for the care of the child.
- Download "Form SC7" (PDF 46KB)
- Download "Form SC8" (PDF 45KB)
- Download "Form SC9" (PDF 45KB)
- Help with PDF files
Signed declaration from the mother or adopter for your Additional Paternity Leave
The child's mother or the adopter that has taken adoption leave must also sign a declaration stating:
- their name, address (including postcode) and National Insurance number
- they were entitled to either Statutory Maternity Pay, Maternity Allowance or Statutory Adoption Pay (or Statutory Maternity or Adoption Leave if you are applying for unpaid leave only)
- they have given notice of their intention to return to work and the date they intend to return to work
- the start date of their Maternity Allowance, Statutory Maternity Pay or Statutory Adoption Pay period (if you are applying for Additional Statutory Paternity Pay)
- you are the only person taking Additional Paternity Leave or Pay in respect of the child
- they consent to your employer processing the information given in the declaration
The declaration also has to state that you are either:
- the father of the child
- the mother's spouse, partner or civil partner (including same-sex relationships)
- jointly adopting the child with your spouse or partner (including same-sex relationships)
- the spouse, partner or civil partner (including same-sex relationships) of the person who is entitled to adoption leave of statutory adoption pay in respect of the child
Employer's responsibilities after receiving your notice of Additional Paternity Leave
Within 28 days of your giving notice, your employer may also ask for:
- a copy of the child's birth certificate or adoption matching certificate
- the employment details of the mother or adopter that has taken adoption leave
If asked for this information you must give it within 28 days or you may not be able to take your leave.
Once you have told your employer that you want to take Additional Paternity Leave and/or Pay (including any additional evidence requested), your employer should write to you. This should be within 28 days, telling you the date when your leave and pay will start and end.
You can choose different end dates for your leave and pay - for example if you wish to continue to take a period of unpaid leave after your pay period has ended.
Your partner's return to work after Statutory Maternity or Adoption Leave
For you to be able to take Additional Paternity Leave, the child's mother or the adopter who took adoption leave must have returned to work. The mother’s or adopter’s return to work must take place no earlier than two weeks after the child was born or placed for adoption.
You are still able to take Additional Paternity Leave if your partner returns part time or to self-employment, so long as their Statutory Maternity Pay, Maternity Allowance or Statutory Adoption Pay is not payable.
You cannot start your Additional Paternity Leave or get any Statutory Paternity Pay if:
- the mother or adopter has not brought their maternity or adoption leave to an end
- Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance or Statutory Adoption Pay is payable during this time
Once your partner has returned to work your leave and pay entitlement is not affected by any further period of Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance or Statutory Adoption Pay paid to your partner.
Starting Additional Paternity Leave
Once your partner has returned to work, you can start your leave and pay any time.
- from 20 weeks after your child is born
- from 20 weeks after the child was placed with you for adoption, or entered Northern Ireland in the case of overseas adoptions
Ending Additional Paternity Leave
You can choose to take up to 26 weeks' leave, ending no later than:
- the child's first birthday
- one year after the child was placed for adoption, or entered Northern Ireland in the case of overseas adoptions
Additional Statutory Paternity Pay is only payable during either:
- the mother's Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance pay period
- the adopter's Statutory Adoption Pay period
It lasts 39 continuous weeks from the date the pay period starts. Any leave taken after the end of the 39 weeks is unpaid.
Changing the dates of your leave
You must give your employer at least six weeks' notice if you wish to change the date of your leave or if you no longer wish to take your leave. If it is not practical for your employer, they do not have to allow you to change any dates within six weeks of giving notice. For example, this might be the case if they have already hired cover for your leave.
If you are no longer eligible for Additional Paternity Leave
If you are no longer eligible for Additional Paternity Leave you must tell your employer as soon as possible. For example, because your partner has not returned to work as planned or because you will not be caring for the child.
Your employer can insist you take a period of unpaid leave if:
- you do not give your employer six weeks' notice of the change in your eligibility
- it is not practical for them to fit in with your change
The unpaid leave would start on the date your leave was due to start. It would end no later than six weeks after you gave notice that you were no longer eligible (or the date the leave was due to end if that is earlier).
If you disagree with the decision on your Additional Statutory Paternity Pay
If you think you should get Additional Statutory Paternity Pay or Additional Paternity Leave but your employer disagrees, talk to them and explain your rights. If you have an employee representative (for example, a trade union official) they may be able to help.
If you qualify for Additional Statutory Paternity Pay and your employer refuses to pay it, it will be treated as an unlawful deduction from your wages.