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Proposed amendments to paternity leave regulations

on Friday, 19 January 2024.

Draft regulations will make changes to the right to take paternity leave following the birth or adoption of a child born or adopted after 6 April 2024.

Current framework

The right to take statutory paternity leave applies to eligible employees who are either the biological father of a baby, or who are in a partner-type relationship with a child's mother. Under the current statutory framework, eligible employees can take one or two consecutive weeks of paid paternity leave within eight weeks of their child's birth or adoption placement. The leave must be taken in one go, meaning that the employee cannot choose to take two discontinuous weeks of leave. In order to take the leave, the employee must give notice to their employer by no later than the 15th week before the expected week of the child's birth.

Planned changes

Some changes are proposed to the statutory paternity leave framework. Primarily, the changes will simplify and introduce more flexibility to the way paternity leave is arranged and taken. However, the substance of the statutory entitlement itself will not change, ie eligible employees will continue to be entitled to take up to two weeks' paternity leave paid at the statutory rate.

Once in force, the new regulations will make the following changes:

  • Eligible employees will be able to choose to take their leave as two one-week, non-consecutive blocks
  • The leave will be able to be taken at any point in the first year after the baby's birth or the child's adoption
  • Four weeks' notice will be required to take each period of leave, save for in cases of domestic adoption, where the notice period will remain within seven days of the adopter receiving notice of the match
  • Eligible employees may give 28 days' notice to vary the date of their planned leave if desired

The draft regulations are expected to come into force on 8 March 2024. The changes will apply to babies whose expected week of birth begins after 6 April 2024, and to children whose expected week of adoption is on or after 6 April 2024.

For more information or advice the changes to paternity leave regulations, please contact Ella Straker in our Employment team on 07584 220 286, or complete the form below.

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