Paternity leave and pay

Statutory paternity pay


For information about eligibility criteria for statutory paternity pay (SPP) see statutory paternity pay and leave.

(Note that in Northern Ireland, in exceptional cases, statutory paternity pay may be payable where an adoption agency places a child with approved foster parents who are also approved, prospective adopters. The agency will supply the foster parents with correspondence which can be shown to the employer explaining that they have met the relevant criteria for being matched with the child for the purposes of paternity leave and pay, and other entitlements open to adopters. The usual notification and service criteria will apply).

Note that the meaning of the term 'employee' for SPP purposes is different from the meaning of paternity leave and other employment rights. This means that some workers who are not employees, eg agency workers, may qualify for SPP, even though they do not qualify for paternity leave.

Someone legally classed as a worker who is not entitled to statutory paternity pay might still want to take time off after a birth. You should discuss other options with them, for example, paid holiday or special leave paid or unpaid.

SPP rates and recovery

You must pay eligible employees the lower of:

  • the standard weekly rate - £184.03
  • 90% of their average weekly earnings

You can recover some or all of your SPP payments from HM Revenue & Customs - the proportion you can recover depends on the size of your annual National Insurance Contributions liability.

Enhanced paternity pay

If you wish, you can have enhanced paternity pay arrangements, which are more generous than the statutory entitlements, to attract and retain employees.

For example, you could:

  • Pay full pay during the employee's paternity leave. However, you could also change the qualification criteria for this enhancement, eg the employee needs a year's continuous service.
  • Pay paternity pay to all employees - regardless of whether or not they meet the statutory qualification criteria.

You can offer these arrangements either as a contractual right or on a discretionary, case-by-case basis. Be careful when using discretion to avoid complaints of unfair treatment or discrimination.