Paternity leave – What are your rights?

Paternity leave – What are your rights?

Recent reports have found that new fathers are increasingly dissatisfied with the options presented to them for paternity leave.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the rights of fathers and their partners over paternity leave.

We’ll also break down the steps an employee can take to support themselves and their family while they are working.

What are the current regulations?

Under current legislation, new fathers in the UK are entitled to just two weeks’ paternity leave. During this period, fathers receive 90 percent of average weekly earnings, or £172.48, whichever is lower.

To quality, fathers must:

Is Shared Parental Leave a suitable alternative?

Shared Parental Leave (SPL) and Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) is the option to share leave with a partner following a birth, adoption or use of a surrogate.

New parents can share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay. Leave needs to be taken during the first year after their child is born.

Eligibility is similar to that of paternity leave, with the addition that:

However, any Maternity Leave taken by the mother is deducted from the amount of SPL that can be taken or split between them.

In practice, with many new mothers medically required to take Maternity Leave to some degree, this reduces the amount of leave that their partners can take.

Research also shows that only around one percent of fathers have taken Shared Parental Leave.

What options are available?

The most straightforward options available to new fathers are Paternity Leave or Shared Parental Leave.

However, this may create a situation where fathers are unable to split childcare equally with their partner.

There are several options available to fathers upon their return to work.

Everyone has the legal right to request flexible working patterns, including different start and end times, or working remotely or on a hybrid model – provided they have worked for their employer for 26 weeks or more.

Employers must deal with this request in a reasonable manner. This means that they must fairly assess whether flexible working would benefit the company and the employee. They must provide a good business reason if they refuse.

Employers must also offer an appeal process or give the employee the opportunity to discuss their request with them.

Is flexible working the answer?

Flexible working arrangements can go a long way to support new fathers who were unable to take as much parental leave as they would have liked.

However, it does not address the root concerns that many new parents have over the lack of paternity leave available to new fathers in the UK.

To discuss your legal rights over parental leave as an employee, please contact one of our expert solicitors.

Contact us

Complete the below form and a member of our team will get back to you

If you would like to see full details of our data practices please visit our Privacy Policy and if you have any questions please email