The UK Rules
Paternity Pay and Leave

Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave

Paid Paternity Leave is an entitlement for parents, adopters, and surrogates. Taking Paternity Pay and Leave gives you an option to have a brief spell off work to care for a new arrival.

PATERNITY PAY AND LEAVE: Find out about your Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave entitlement. This guide explains what you can get and how to make a claim.

Paid Paternity Leave is for those who are planning time off work after childbirth. Those who are adopting a child, or going through surrogacy, might also qualify for:

You may not be eligible for leave and pay combined. Specific rules apply to claiming Paternity Pay and when Paternity Leave can start.

Note: You can use the Government maternity planner to calculate your leave and pay online.

Your Employment Rights (while on leave)

The United Kingdom employment laws protect employee rights while they take paternity leave. Thus, your right as an employee on maternity leave will include:

Paternity Pay and Leave entitlement gives you time off to attend antenatal appointments. You can make two (2) antenatal visits with your partner - or the surrogate mother.

Those who are adopting a child can get time off to attend two (2) of the adoption appointments. The visits may take place after your match with a suitable child for adoption.

Statutory Paternity Pay 2021

The Statutory Paternity Pay rate 2021 is £151.97 a week. But, you will get 90% of your average weekly earnings if it is lower than this weekly rate.

Paternity Pay provides extra financial help if you have children. The payments are usually paid weekly or monthly. It generally depends on the regularity of your normal wages. The usual deductions for Tax and National Insurance will also occur.

Paternity Pay Start and End Dates

As a rule, you claim and get paid Paternity Pay while you take leave from work. That means your employer needs to confirm the Paternity Pay start and end dates. You should provide your employer with at least 28 days of notice to change the start date.

Note: Some companies have a company paternity scheme so you could get more pay. Even so, your employer cannot offer you less than the statutory amounts.

Paternity Leave Entitlement

If you qualify for Paternity Leave entitlement you could get one or two weeks off work. The amount of leave does not increase even if your partner has twins or a multiple birth.

If you take leave entitlement it must happen in one go. One week of leave amounts to the same number of days of your normal working week. For example: A week is 3 days if you usually work Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.

Paternity Leave Start Date

Paternity Leave cannot begin before the child is born and it must finish within 56 days of the birth. You should provide your employer with at least 28 days of notice to change the start date.

The date does not need to be an exact day. A general time frame is usually good enough. For example: You can state 'one (1) week after the birth' as your leave start date.

Note: The rules for Paternity Leave differ if you are adopting a child. You can use the Government paternity planner to calculate your leave online.

Shared Parental Leave (SPL)

In some cases you could be eligible for Shared Parental Leave as well. SPL may be available if your baby was due or placed for adoption on or after the 5th of April 2015. But, you cannot take your Paternity Leave after you take Shared Parental Leave.

Taking Leave for Antenatal Appointments

You can choose to take unpaid leave for two antenatal visits. You may go with a pregnant woman to two of her antenatal appointments if you are:

You can only take up to 6.5 hours leave per antenatal appointment. But, your employer can choose to give you longer if you need more time.

Permanent employees can apply for leave immediately. But, agency worker regulations say you should have been doing a job for 12 weeks to qualify if you work for an agency.

Paternity Pay and Leave Eligibility Criteria

The time you take off work must be to look after the child and you must be either:

Note: You do not qualify for paternity pay and leave if you took paid time off to attend adoption appointments. Extra conditions also apply to meet leave and pay eligibility.

Paternity Leave Eligibility

To qualify for Paternity Leave you must:

Note: The 'qualifying week' has different regulations if you adopt a child.

Paternity Pay Eligibility

To qualify for Paternity Pay you must:

Note: The 'qualifying week' has different regulations if you adopt a child.

What Happens if You Lose the Baby?

You may still qualify for Paternity Leave or pay in cases where your baby is:

What if You are Not Eligible for Paternity Pay and Leave?

If you are not eligible your employer must inform you within 28 days. They must also tell you why you fail to qualify using form SPP1.

How to Claim Paternity Leave and Pay

Paternity Leave

You must inform your employer a period of 15 weeks or longer before the week of expected childbirth. Tell them:

In some cases you need to provide these details in writing for your employer. You can request Paternity Pay at the same time. You should use form SC3 for this purpose (or the version your employer gives you).

Paternity Pay

When you claim Paternity Pay you must supply your employer with form SC3 (or their version). You should do this at least 15 weeks before the week that the baby's birth is expected.

Note: Paternity Leave and Pay rules and forms are different for adopting a child. In this case you do not need proof of the pregnancy or birth.

Paternity Leave UK Adoption and Surrogacy


To apply for adoption leave you must have been working for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks before the 'matching week'. In adoption cases this will be either:

Note: Further eligibility conditions apply to get paternity leave or pay.

Start and End Dates

The period of Paternity Leave can begin:

The leave period should get taken within 56 days of the placement date or their arrival in the UK (for overseas adoptions only). You must provide your employer with at least 28 days of notice to change the start date.

Claiming Paternity Leave or Pay

You should use the Government form SC4 when you become an adoptive or parental order parent (or the version given by your employer) for:

Use the Government form SC5 or overseas adoptions because the form and notice period is different.

Providing Proof of the Adoption

As a rule, proof of the adoption is not required for Paternity Leave (unless your employer needs it). But, you must provide your employer with proof of adoption within 28 days to qualify for Additional Paternity Pay. It can be a letter from your adoption agency or you can use the matching certificate.

How Surrogacy Arrangements Work

What happens if you use a surrogate to have a baby? The infant must be due on or after the 5th April 2015 for you to qualify for Paternity Pay and Leave. You must also:

Inform your employer of the due date (at least 15 weeks before) and when you want your leave to start. Your employer may request a written statement confirming that you intend to apply for a parental order in the 6 months after childbirth. You must sign this statement in the presence of a legal professional.

Note: In this case you do not get Paternity Leave if you already took Shared Parental Leave.

Paternity Pay and Leave Eligibility and Rates for United Kingdom