This page sets out your entitlements and responsibilities under UK legislation on paternity leave and pay.
ATL offers a special membership package for members who plan to take a break from teaching in order to raise a family. Please contact the membership department on 020 7782 1602 for further details.
New legislation from December 2014 introduced Shared Parental Leave for babies due on or after 5 April 2015. Couples may wish to consider this new provision, in order to allow the partner of the person giving birth to take more leave during the year following the baby's birth. In order to do this, the woman would have to curtail their maternity leave; you should read ATL's guide to Shared Parental Leave, in conjunction with this paternity guide.
Paternity leave, with pay, is available to the partners of new mothers and adopters of babies and children.
Paternity benefits are available to the:
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.
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.
Statutory paternity pay
Statutory paternity pay is £136.78 per week (as at April 2013) 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.
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.
Parents entitled to paternity leave are also entitled to parental leave. See the family friendly policies section for more details.
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.
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.
Further education agreements
ATL and the national employers' body (the Association of Colleges) have agreed a national guideline agreement which establishes recommended minimum standards for colleges and FE institutions for paternity and parental leave.
Need further advice?
Your first point of contact is your ATL rep in your school or college. Your local ATL branch is also available to help with queries, or you can contact ATL's member advisors on tel: 020 7930 6441 or email us. Please have your membership number to hand when telephoning and include it with any correspondence - this will help us to answer your query more quickly.