Paternity leave and pay

Employee notification of paternity leave - adoptions and surrogacy arrangements

The notification requirements for paternity leave differ for UK and overseas adoptions.

Notification of paternity leave - UK adoptions

To qualify for paternity leave when adopting a child from within the UK, an employee should notify you no more than seven days after the adopter is notified they've been matched with a child:

If it is not reasonably practicable for them to meet this deadline, they should notify you as soon as possible.

You do not have to give the employee confirmation of the end date of their paternity leave.

Notification of paternity leave - overseas adoptions

Employees adopting a child from overseas must give you notice in three stages that they intend to take paternity leave.

Employees must give you the information required in writing if you request it.

If the employee is also entitled to statutory paternity pay (SPP), they must give you the evidence required at the same time.

In the first stage, the employee must inform you of:

Where the employee already has the necessary 26 weeks' qualifying service when the adopter receives official notification, they must give you this information within 28 days of the adopter receiving official notification. At this point, the employee should know roughly when the child will enter Northern Ireland.

Where the employee receives official notification before they have the necessary qualifying service, they must give you notice within 28 days of completing the 26 weeks' qualifying service. Again, at this point, the employee should know roughly when the child will enter Northern Ireland.

In the second stage, the employee must give you at least 28 days' notice of the actual date they want their paternity leave (and SPP if they qualify) to start. They can give this notice at the first notification stage if they know the date. Paternity leave cannot start before the child has entered Northern Ireland.

Employees can change their mind about the date on which they want their leave to start providing they tell you at least 28 days in advance of the new date, or as soon as is reasonably practicable.

For the third stage, which is after the child has entered Northern Ireland, the employee must tell you the date the child entered Northern Ireland. They must tell you this within 28 days of the child's date of entry.

If they are also claiming SPP, they will need to give evidence of the date of entry.

Employees must tell you as soon as is reasonably practicable if they find out that the child will not be entering Northern Ireland.

Notification of paternity leave - surrogacy arrangements

The intended parent that will take paternity leave and/or pay must notify their employer of their entitlement by the 15th week before the expected week of birth. They must provide:

  • Their name.
  • The baby’s due date.
  • The date on which the leave and/or pay will begin.
  • The child’s actual date of birth once the child has been born.

If requested by their employer, the employee must supply a declaration that:

  • He or she will be on paternity leave.
  • They satisfy the entitlement conditions for paternity leave.
  • They are eligible for and intend to apply for a Parental Order in respect of the child (or have obtained such an order).
  • They have not claimed adoption leave and/or pay. (Persons who claim adoption leave and/or pay are disqualified from claiming paternity leave and/or pay and vice versa).

Written notification of paternity leave

You may request notification of paternity leave in writing.

Many employees will find it convenient to claim SPP at the same time. However, to do this, they must also make a declaration. If the employee makes this declaration for SPP, they have complied with the notification requirements.

If the employee is not eligible for SPP but you still want written notification, you can ask the employee to give you a completed self certificate. You should accept this unless you have strong reasons for suspecting that it is false.