This used to be my number one song to drunkenly beg the reluctant DJ to play in the disco room of Oceana, circa 2006. Who knew, 12 years later I would be using it in reference to paternity rights? Rock and roll eh?!
I thought I would dedicate a post to partners rights as let’s face it they can often get overlooked when it comes to parental rights information (those poor souls, they do have to go through a lot don’t they and it must be so hard on their little feet pacing hospital corridors for hours on end..!)
So it goes without saying that all of the following information applies to all ‘partners’. Back in the day, before it was acknowledged that equality in this area was actually quite important this only extended to fathers, it now covers all partners.
Recent employment law changes mean that partners now too are entitled to time off to attend at least two of these appointments (usually saved for the usual 2 routine scans at 12 and 20 weeks). As with women, the law states that men can take up to 6.5 hours. This leave however is unpaid, unless your partner has a family friendly employer who offers an enhanced policy on this. Alternatively it might be an option to take holiday or swap shifts so that precious pay is not lost (and can instead go towards paying for that travel system you have your eye on, but might have to auction off a limb to afford in Mothercare).
Sadly, unlike Maternity Leave, not all employees are entitled to Paternity Leave (I hear you, this is NOT ideal and the thought of them trotting back to work the day after your emergency c-section is really not the one), however if your other half does not qualify – unless their employer is a total meanie, there is usually the option to take annual leave instead.
To qualify then, employees will need to be taking time off to look after the child (hear that hubby, this is not time off to sit on your computer pretending to look at life insurance quotes but actually be playing FIFA) and be one of the following:
- The child’s father
- The husband or partner of the mother or adoptive mother (in this instance they do not actually need to be the biological father)
- The child’s adopter
- The intended parent (this refers to couples that have a baby through surrogacy)
Employees will also need:
- To have given the correct notice (this is the same notice required for Maternity Leave: 15 weeks prior to due date or, week 25 of pregnancy). Yes I know, you don’t have a crystal ball – obviously you don’t have to give the precise date of when the leave will begin, just a rough estimate based on due date.
- To have worked for the employer continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth
Length of Leave
So ladies; seeing as you’ve been through the most traumatic and bloody painful event in your whole life, hubby can have at least a month off to help change nappies and peel grapes for you whilst you lay on the sofa in a dressing gown and recover right? Erm nope. Sadly not.
Eligible employees can take either one or two weeks leave. These must be taken in either one or two week blocks (bit of a pain but this is due to the way the pay is calculated) . Unlike Maternity Leave, The earliest that Paternity Leave can start is the day of your child’s birth. However it doesn’t actually have to start on this day.
Partners can start their leave anything up to 56 days after the birth. This means that depending on the employers flexibility (and let’s face it, a lot of them aren’t all that flexible) there is the option to take annual leave for a week or two following the birth followed by another week or two paternity leave (maybe you might get that dressing gown and grapes scenario going on after all!)
This is the same as the basic rate of Statutory Maternity Pay which is currently £140.98 per week, or 90% of your partner’s average earnings, whichever is lower.
Some employers will offer enhanced pay (and/or leave) so worth checking out the company policy on this.
Eligibility is on the same basis as with Paternity Leave, outlined above.
Shared Parental Leave
One for a separate post I think but in essence, this is a way of splitting maternity leave into chunks and sharing it with your partner. You can mix it about a bit and go back to work for a period of time whilst he has some time off, then swap things around again.
It is fairly (OK make that very) complex so I will cover this separately.
Ok so there you have it, the very basics of Paternity stuff. I hope this has been useful and please accept my sincere apologies if you now have Deniece Williams playing in your head on repeat… (Does anyone actually know the rest of the words though??)