To transfer or not to transfer the leave
The government has published plans under which fathers could be eligible for up to six months paternity leave three of them paid,if their partner returns to work.
The regulations will come into force on 6 April 2010
Applicable to parents of babies due on or after 3 April 2011 and for adoptive parents who are notified of having been matched with a child on or after that date.
At present, fathers are entitled to just two weeks’ paid leave while mothers can take up to 52 weeks, with 39 of them paid.
The new regulations will allow for a mother returning to work before the end of her statutory leave to transfer the rest of her leave entitlement to her partner. It is stipulated that the child must be at least 20 weeks old for this additional allowance to take effect. The new father will then be paid the statutory maternity pay rate of £124.88 (currently) a week (or 90 per cent of average earnings, whichever is lower) up to the 39-week cut-off period, after which it will be unpaid.
Guidance on the new rights will be put in place before 3 April 2011 to ensure that employers and employees are aware of the changes and are adequately informed of their application.
· Fathers able to take from two to 26 weeks’ leave.
· Mothers have to return to work before fathers can take the leave.
· Fathers paid for leave only when it falls within the 39-week SMP period.
· Additional paternity leave is only for the purpose of caring for the child.
· Fathers must have 26 weeks’ continuous service at 15 weeks prior to the child’s birth to be eligible, the same qualifications as for statutory paternity leave.
· The father must remain in employment until the start of Additional Paternity Leave (APL).
· Eligibility extends beyond biological fathers to anyone who is married to,or the partner of, the child’s mother, as long as that person is responsible for the child’s upbringing.
At least eight weeks before the APL begins, employees must give employers:
· notice of their intention to take leave.
· a signed declaration stating their absence is to care for the child;a signed declaration from the mother, confirming the father’s information, giving her name and address, her national insurance number and a statement of her intention to return to work.