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Paternity leave and pay help – what you should know

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2000_image1.jpgAnd even if you think you know all there is to know after having children before then you might be in for a surprise from April 5. The parents of any child due on or after that date will be able to take up Shared Parental Leave (SPL), described by ACAS as the “biggest shake up in maternity and paternity rights in recent times”.
 
In simple terms a father is entitled to ordinary paternity leave of up to two weeks and a mother must take at least two weeks of statutory maternity leave after the baby is born, but any remaining maternity leave can then be divided between the mother and the father, as Money Advice Service explains here.
 
So for example, let's say the mother has 20 weeks remaining of her leave. This could be divided between the two parents so that they both take ten weeks of leave and then return to work. Or they could both take five weeks at the same time, and the remaining ten could be split into several ‘blocks' of them looking after the child. Or they could each take five weeks of leave, return to work for several weeks, and then each take five more weeks of leave.
 
In essence, the change has given parents much more flexibility in choosing how they spend their leave period. SPL replaces the current Additional Parental Leave, which gives the father a maximum of 26 weeks' leave to be taken in one block 20 weeks after 2000_image2.jpgthe birth, and once the mother has returned to work.
 
That will all change after December 1, when the new change is officially introduced. Here's a concise description of the differences between the two leaves, courtesy of this Employment law piece.
 
There are limits: Paternity leave must be taken in week-blocks, and is in addition to your holiday allowance – but you must have been with your employer for at least half a year at the time that the due date is 15 weeks away (end of 15th week).
 
In addition the father should inform his boss that he and his child's mother wish to take SPL at least eight weeks in advance of the SPL start date (which will also be the end of the mother's statutory maternity leave).
 
Parents who choose to take APL (or SPL from April 5) will be each be paid Statutory Shared
 Parental Pay (ShPP) at a rate of £138.18 per week or 90% of the parent's weekly wages for 39 weeks – whichever is lower. You must be earning at least £111 a week pre-tax to receive this.
 
Once the mother ends maternity leave the parents will be able to take the rest of the 39 weeks of pay or Maternity Allowance (up to a maximum of 37 weeks) as ShPP.
 
These are your rights, but if you don't qualify your employer might still be able to help. You could take it as holiday, or unpaid leave, you could 2000_image3.jpgask if you can work from home, or part time, or in different hours.
 
Evidence from studies conducted in Norway, as reported by Babycenter, suggests that fathers who spent time at home during early infancy had a more direct influence on the child and its development.  The direction for the earnest father should therefore be to seek time off with their child, whether through SPL or other routes – as it seems to benefit all parties.

This article was written by freelance publisher Sophie Davidson, Sophie is passionate about providing engaing content and has featured in a number of online publications.

Sophie Davidson

This article was written by freelance wrtiter Sophie Davidson, Sophie is passionate about providing engaging content and has featured ina a number of online publications.

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