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Home / News and Insights / Blogs / Employment Law / 441: Recent statutory paternity leave changes

Regulations amending the statutory framework for paternity leave came into effect on 8 March 2024. The Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations made the following key changes:

  • fathers will be able to split their leave and pay into two separate one-week blocks, instead of having to take it only in one block of either one or two weeks;
  • leave and pay may be taken at any time in the 52 weeks after the birth or adoption, rather than only within the first eight weeks;
  • the notice period required for each period of leave and pay will be shortened to 28 days, instead of having to give notice of leave dates by 15 weeks before the expected week of childbirth (EWC) as at present. In adoption cases, due to the much shorter timescales, the notice may still be given within seven days of the adopter receiving notification of being matched with a child;
  • once initial notice has been given, fathers will have the flexibility to vary the dates already given on 28 days’ notice; and
  • fathers must provide a written declaration of their eligibility for leave and state that the purpose of the leave is to care for their child or support their partner. Under the current rules, although employers may ask for a declaration, this is not an absolute requirement.

These changes apply for fathers of babies due to be born on or after 6 April 2024 and children who are due to be placed for adoption on or after 6 April 2024. Some organisations will already offer more generous paternity entitlements than the statutory minimum. However, all employers should now ensure that policies, practices and software are updated where necessary to reflect the new legislation. It should be noted that the Labour party has indicated that it may abolish the requirement for six months’ service to qualify for statutory paternity leave.

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