by Nadine de Souza

In this article we discuss additional paternity leave, when it can be taken and who out of your employees is eligible to take it.

What is additional paternity leave?

Additional paternity leave (APL) is a right available to parents of a baby due on or after 3 April 2011 and to adoptive parents who were notified that they have been matched with a child on or after that date. APL introduces a way that a parent can take time off work to care for their child during its first year. It’s available to employees if their partner returns to work before the end of their maternity (adoption) leave.

How long is it for?

APL is for a maximum of 26 weeks.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible to take APL, the child’s mother/adopter must have been entitled to:

  • Statutory maternity leave; or
  • Statutory maternity pay (SMP); or
  • Maternity allowance; or
  • Statutory leave; or
  • Statutory adoption pay (SAP);

And have returned to work.

When can APL be taken?

APL can be taken by the spouse/civil partner/partner between 20 weeks and one year after the employee’s child is born or placed for adoption.

How soon do you have to be informed by the employee that additional paternity leave is being taken?

At least 8 weeks before starting additional paternity leave the employee must give notice. This includes:

  1. A written leave notice specifying the following:
    • The week when the child was due or the date they were notified of having been matched for adoption with the child;
    • The child’s date of birth or the date the child was placed for adoption; and
    • The employee’s chosen start and finish dates for their period of APL.
  2. A signed employee declaration stating that:
    • The purpose of their APL will be to care for the child;
    • They are either the child’s father or are married to the partner or civil partner of the child’s mother; and
    • They have, or expect to have, the main responsibility (apart from that of the child’s mother) for bringing up the child or that they have been matched for adoption with the child.


  3. A written declaration from the child’s mother/adopter stating the following:
    • The mother’s/adopter’s name, address and National Insurance number;
    • The date on which they intend to return to work;
    • That the employee is either the child’s father or is their spouse, partner or civil partner and has, or expects to have, the main responsibility (apart from the child’s mother) for bringing up the child;
    • That to their knowledge the employee is the only person exercising the entitlement to APL in respect of the child; and
    • That she consents to the employer processing the information that she has provided in the declaration.

Is the employee entitled to benefits when on APL?

During APL, the employee is entitled to all benefits that they would have received had they not been on paternity leave, except wages and salary (but including benefits in kind). This means that the employment contract continues and the period on paternity leave counts towards the employee’s continuity of employment. Discover the world of gaming with Onlyplay and get ready for non-stop entertainment, innovative features, and thrilling gameplay that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Is the employee eligible for paternity pay?

Additional statutory paternity pay (SPP) is paid at £138.18 per week or 90 per cent of the employee’s average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). It’s payable only during what would have been the employee’s spouse/partner/civil partner’s statutory maternity pay (SMP), maternity allowance or statutory adoption pay (SAP) period.

Can the employee be dismissed?

Employees are protected from detrimental treatment and dismissal for reasons connected with their rights to ordinary paternity leave (OPL) and APL.

Shared parental leave reforms

Shared parental leave is due to be introduced in December. It’s a new right that will allow eligible employees – who are mothers, fathers, partners and adopters – to choose how they share time off from work after their child is born or adopted. To take shared parental leave, the baby must be due to be born – or placed for adoption – on or after 5 April 2015.

Help from Lawpack

If you want more in-depth information – from an employment lawyer – about all aspects of employment law, then read our guide Employment Law Made Easy. Packed with tips and expert advice on complying with employment legislation.

Download our solicitor-approved Paternity Leave Policy to protect your business and comply with employment law.