Statutory Paternity Leave in the UK: Know Your Rights!

Statutory Paternity Leave

Having a child is a wonderful moment in anyone’s life, but it is a constant struggle to balance the demands of your employers and your family.

I am often asked by employees about their entitlement to paternity leave, as there is not much written about it and advice is often conflicting. I have recently returned from paternity leave myself, and was lucky enough to spend a whole month at home with my wife, Stacey, and son, Logan. That experience was (to quote Catweazle) “Truly Wondrous”, and something that every father should have the right to experience. So what is the truth about paternity leave?

Well, the first thing I would say is to check you employment contract, as many employers now offer a greater amount of paternity leave than is required by law. Hats off to those guys!

Summarising the facts regarding paternity leave, you can assume the following:

  • You have no legal right to time off for antenatal appointments.
  • You have to of been working for your employer for a minimum of 6 months at the point that you are 15 weeks away from the babies due date.
  • You are entitled to 2 weeks of paternity leave.

As of 2011, you may also be entitled to an additional 6 months of paternity leave. For more information on this and standard paternity leave, have a look at Direct Gov.