Statutory Paternity Pay

Statutory Paternity Pay for eligible employees is either £156.66 a week or 90% of their average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). Know your eligibility.
  • Author: Siva
  • Last updated: August 19, 2022
  • 5 Minutes
statutory paternity pay in the UK explained by Papershift

All businesses that pay staff may need to pay statutory paternity pay if an employee wishes to take time off work if they and their partner are:

  • Having a baby
  • Adopting a child
  • Having a baby via a surrogacy arrangement

But the question is, what is paternity pay and how do you claim it? We’ll look to answer these questions and more in our guide to statutory paternity pay.

Let’s begin.

What is Statutory Paternity Pay?

If you are a working father in the UK, or the partner of a person having a child (including a same-sex partner), you may be able to get Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP).

SPP is payable to new fathers whilst they are on Statutory Paternity Leave and helping to look after their new-born child.

Employees may be eligible for Statutory Paternity Leave and Pay if they and their partner are:

  1. Having a baby
  2. Adopting a child
  3. Having a baby through a surrogacy arrangement

For more details on eligibility, see the relevant section later in the article.

What is Statutory Paternity Leave?

Statutory Paternity Leave is time off for a new father to help with the care of their newborn child.

Employees can choose to take either one or two weeks’ consecutive leave. 

How much leave do I get if I have more than one child?

The amount of time is the same even if you are having more than one child (for example twins or triplets).

When does paternity leave and pay start?

Leave cannot start before the birth and the start date must be one of the following:

  1. The actual date of birth of the child.
  2. A number of days after the birth agreed with the employer.
  3. An agreed number of days after the expected week of childbirth agreed with the employer.

Leave must finish within 56 days of the birth (or due date if the baby is early). The start and end dates are different if the employee is adopting.

How much is Statutory Paternity Pay?
Statutory Paternity Pay for eligible employees is either £156.66 a week or 90% of their average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). 
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Is Statutory Paternity Pay taxable?

Yes, it is. As it is classed as earnings, tax and National Insurance need to be deducted.

Is two weeks all I can get?

Employees can get more leave or pay if:

Can I get leave for antenatal appointments outside of Paternity Leave?

Yes, you can. Employees can take unpaid leave to accompany a pregnant woman to antenatal appointments if they are:

  1. The baby’s father.
  2. The expectant mother’s spouse or civil partner.
  3. In a long-term relationship with the expectant mother.
  4. The intended parent if the baby is the product of a surrogacy arrangement.

In each case, the father can accompany the woman to 2 appointments of up to 6 and a half hours each.

What if the baby dies?

Employees will still qualify for paternity leave and pay if the baby is either:

  • Stillborn from 24 weeks of pregnancy. Before 24 weeks the death is adjudged to be a miscarriage.
  • Born alive at any point in the pregnancy but later dies.

Is Statutory Paternity Pay covered by the law?

Yes, it is. All employee’s rights (like the right to paternity pay, holidays and being able to return to a job) are protected during paternity leave. 

Are there any eligibility requirements for Statutory Paternity Pay?

Employees must be one of the following to claim Statutory Paternity Leave and Pay:

  • The father.
  • The husband or partner of the mother (or adopter).
  • The child’s adopter.
  • The intended parent if they’re having a baby through a surrogacy arrangement.

The employee must also:

  1. Be classed as an employee with the company. 
  2. Be employed by you up to the date the child is born or placed with the adopter.
  3. Be on the company’s payroll and earn at least £123 a week over an 8-week ‘relevant period’.
  4. Give the employer correct notice.
  5. Be taking time off to look after the child or their partner.
  6. Have been continuously employed by you for at least 26 weeks up to any day in the ‘qualifying week’.

What is the ‘qualifying week’?

The qualifying week is the 15th week before the baby is due. This is different if the employee is adopting (see our adoption pay guide).

What if the child is born early?

If the child is born early, the employee is still eligible for Statutory Paternity Pay so long as they would have worked for you continuously for at least 26 weeks by the qualifying week.

How much notice period do I need to give to get Statutory Paternity Leave and Pay?

The notice period is different for both leave and pay:

Statutory Paternity Leave

Employees must tell their employers at least 15 weeks before:

  • The baby’s due date.
  • When they want their leave to start. This can be changed with 28 days’ notice.

They must also tell them how much leave they want (one or two weeks).

Notice does not have to be in writing unless an employer requests it. 

Statutory Paternity Pay
Employees must request paternity pay at least 15 weeks before the week the baby is due.

What if give my employer late notice?

An employer can delay the leave or pay start date if the employee does not have a reasonable excuse for giving the wrong amount of notice. 

Will I get Statutory Paternity Pay if I am adopting?

Eligible employees are entitled to paternity leave and pay if they’re adopting a child.

For more information, check out our adoption pay guide.

Can an employer refuse Statutory Paternity Pay?

Yes, they can. An employer can refuse Statutory Paternity Pay if the employee does not qualify. To do this they will need to send the employee form SPP1 within 28 days of their pay request explaining why the paternity pay has been denied. 

The employee can ask for a written statement explaining the decision, and this must be given within a reasonable timeframe.

Can small business owners get help with Statutory Paternity Pay?

Yes, they can. The cost of paternity leave can be too much for some businesses. To help they can contact HMRC and ask to:

  • Reclaim up to 92% of payments (this can be more in some situations).
  • Receive an advance if they cannot afford payments.

In conclusion

Statutory Paternity Pay is there to help out when a family start a child and can be a godsend to many families in the UK.

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Written by Siva

I write & describe the value & benefits delivered by Paperhift's rota planning, staff time tracking, and employee payroll management software. Especially useful for Shift Planners, Rota Managers, Team Admins, and HR Teams :-)