Guide

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 to the meaning for 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 don't qualify for paternity leave.

SPP rates and recovery

You must pay eligible employees the lower of:

  • the standard weekly rate - £140.98
  • 90 per cent of their average weekly earnings

You can recover some or all of your SPP payments from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) - the proportion you can recover depends on the size of your annual NICs liability.

Enhanced paternity pay

If you wish, you can have enhanced paternity pay arrangements 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 discrimination.