Paternity leave and pay

You may be eligible to take paternity leave if you are a new father or your partner is giving birth or adopting a child or is an intended parent under a surrogacy arrangement.


Paternity leave is up to two weeks’ paid leave which must be taken within 56 days of the child’s birth, due date, or placement for adoption.

You can take one week or two weeks in a row but not odd days or two separate weeks.

Once you have agreed your dates of paternity leave, you can change them if you give at least 28 days’ notice before the new date, or as soon as reasonably practicable.

To qualify for statutory paternity leave, you must:

  • have been continuously employed by your employer for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the baby is due or by the date you have been notified that you have been matched with your child for adoption
  • be the biological father or the partner of the woman or person giving birth, or the adopter’s partner (only one parent can take adoption leave; the other must take paternity leave)
  • expect to be responsible for bringing up the child and take the time off to care for the child or support the person giving birth.

You are not entitled to take paternity leave if you are adopting a child that you already have a relationship with, for example a stepchild.

In surrogacy cases, one parent can take paternity leave if eligible according to criteria that are explained in this guide.

You will be eligible to receive statutory paternity pay (SPP) if your earnings are at least at the lower earnings limit and you have been employed by your employer for at least 26 weeks before the end of the 15th week before your child is due or the week in which your partner was notified of being matched with a child for adoption.

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