Statutory paternity pay

Statutory paternity pay is £139.58 per week or 90 per cent of your average weekly earnings if this is lower.

Teachers in Scotland are entitled to two weeks paternity leave, with one week at full pay and one week at statutory paternity pay. In addition, one week at full pay is paid as support leave to the spouse or partner.

Staff in FE colleges and independent schools, and support staff are entitled to the minimum pay and leave as described above, but should check their contracts carefully.

Your entitlements

Your entitlement to paternity leave is two weeks, which must be taken in a single block of either one or two weeks. If you take only one week, there is no entitlement to take the other week at another time. Paternity leave, with pay, is available to the partners of new mothers and adopters of babies and children. 

Paternity benefits are available to the:

  • biological father
  • husband or partner of the mother
  • spouse or partner of the adopter.

All employees who have worked for their employer for 26 weeks by the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth, or 26 weeks by the date of notification of placement are covered.

Local arrangements

You may wish to discuss with your employer the possibility of being paid paternity pay at the normal salary rate. Although this is not in the legislation, employers do have the discretion to increase the amount of paternity pay they provide.

Employers may also be flexible about how paternity leave is taken and may, for example, allow one week to be taken at the time the child is born and the second week to be taken a few weeks later.

If your employer only pays a few days at full pay, the remainder of your paternity pay will be paid at the rate of statutory paternity pay.

Additional paternity leave

If your partner has not taken their full entitlement to maternity leave it may be possible to transfer the remaining leave to you. Your partner must have returned to work to enable you to claim additional paternity leave.

Antenatal classes

The government is currently looking into the possibility of legislating for partners to have the right to attend antenatal appointments. At the moment, any time off to attend antenatal appointments will be at the employer's discretion.

Your responsibilities

You should notify your employer of your wish to take paternity leave by the following dates:

  • birth - the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth
  • adoption - within seven days of the notification of placement.

You must provide a paternity certificate to your employer. This is a written statement that you are entitled to take paternity leave, the expected week of childbirth or date of placement and when you would like your paternity leave to start. Your employer may have a locally produced form for this; otherwise a letter with the relevant information will be sufficient.

Starting paternity leave

Paternity leave can start on:

  • the actual day of the child's birth or placement, or the next working day after birth
  • a day falling a specified number of days after the birth or placement
  • a pre-determined fixed date after the expected week of childbirth or the day of placement.

You may vary the start of your paternity leave by giving 28 days' notice.