Paternity Rights

Qualifying employees are entitled to paternity leave. The provisions are complex. It is important that employers adhere to the provisions. If not the employer runs the risk of unfair dismissal claims. This can result in:-

  • Financial penalty. The compensatory award is now £74,200
  • Adverse publicity.
  • Unnecessary time wasted.

Employees who qualify are entitled to:-

  • Single block of one or two weeks paid paternity leave.
  • Statutory paternity pay at the lower of £135.45 per week or 90% of average weekly earnings.
  • Right to return to work after paternity leave (special rules apply where the employee is returning after two or more consecutive periods of statutory leave, including parental leave).
  • Protection from detriment and unfair dismissal.

An employee can choose to take paternity leave from the date of birth, from a chosen number of days/weeks after the birth or from a chosen date. Leave must be completed within 56 days of the birth or, if the child was born early, 56 days after the expected week of birth.


  • 26 weeks continuous employment.
  • Employee is child’s father/ married to or partner of child’s mother.
  • Responsibility for the child’s upbringing.
  • Notice requirements.
  • Declaration.

Employees who have average weekly earnings below the lower limit for National Insurance purposes will not qualify for statutory paternity pay.

Employees who meet the eligibility criteria above may also be entitled to additional paternity leave of up to 26 weeks.

Always take legal advice!

These comments are provided for guidance only. Each situation has to be examined on its own merits and circumstances and you should not, therefore, rely upon the above without taking specific legal advice in relation to any particular matter.

Specialist advice can be obtained from 
Alan Matthew in our Dundee Office (tel: 01382 200 000) or
from Emma Allan in our Perth Office (tel: 01738 637 311)

February 2013

If you would like to speak to us about any services or have and questions please contact us by filling out the form. 

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Perth Office

Legal Office: 01738 637311
Estate Agency Office: 01738 630222

Dundee Office

Legal Office: 01382 200000
Estate Agency Office: 01382 200301

Crieff Office

Legal Office: 01764 655151
Estate Agency Office: 01764 670077