Paternity leave and pay

Paternity leave notification for adoptions and surrogacy


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

Paternity leave notification: 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.

Once the notice is received by the employer, it is advisable to discuss the date the employee is expected to return to work from paternity leave. However, you are not under any legal obligation to give the employee confirmation of the end date of their paternity leave.

Paternity leave notification: overseas adoptions

Employees intending to take paternity leave when 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.

First stage

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.

Second stage

In the second stage, the employee must give you at least 28 days' notice of the actual date they want their paternity leave (and statutory paternity pay 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 paternity leave to start providing they tell you at least 28 days in advance of the new date, or as soon as is reasonably practicable.

Third stage

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 statutory paternity pay, 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.

Paternity leave notification: surrogacy arrangements

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

If requested by their employer, the employee must supply a declaration within 14 days of receipt of the request, that:

  • He or she is taking paternity leave to care for the child and/or support the other intended parent.
  • 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 statutory paternity pay. (Persons who claim adoption leave and/or pay are disqualified from claiming paternity leave and/or pay and vice versa).

As soon as practicable after the child is born the employee must notify you of the date of birth.

Written notification of paternity leave

You may request notification of paternity leave in writing.

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

If the employee is not eligible for statutory paternity pay but you still want written notification, you can ask the employee to give you a completed self-certificate, which are available from HM Revenue & Customs. You should accept this unless you have strong reasons for suspecting that it is false.