The Government has published the draft Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2023, which will come in to force on 8 March 2024 and apply to children whose expected week of birth begins after 6 April 2024.
Currently, new fathers are allowed to take up to two weeks’ statutory paternity leave at a rate of £172.48 per week; this will increase slightly to £184.03 from April 2024. The leave must be taken in the first eight weeks and must be taken as either a single block of one or two weeks. As part of the draft regulations, new fathers will now be able to take statutory paternity leave at any point during the first year rather than the first eight weeks and will be able to split this in to two separate blocks rather than taking a single block. These amendments will provide greater flexibility for new fathers. For example, a new father could now take one week when the baby is first born and then another week when their partner returns to work (provided it is during the first year) or they could wait and take the whole two weeks when their partner returns to work (again, provided this is during the first year).
In addition to this, the notice requirements for paternity leave will also change from April 2024. Currently, an employee is required to give at least 15 weeks’ notice of their leave dates prior to the birth of the child. Whilst a new father will still be required to provide notice of entitlement to paternity leave 15 weeks before the birth, they will now only need to provide 28 days’ notice of the leave they are going to take. There will also be tougher rules for declaring entitlement. An employee must now declare their eligibility and the legitimate purpose of their paternity leave; this is contrast to the previous regime where an employer could simply request this.
If you have any queries on paternity pay, or need assistance with drafting parental leave policies, please do not hesitate to contact the Employment team at EMW.