RIGHTS OF WORKING PARENTS

Rights of working parents
Working parents have the following legal rights:

paid and unpaid maternity leave
paid paternity leave
paid and unpaid adoption leave
to request flexible working hours
unpaid parental leave for parents of children under five (18 if your child is disabled)
unpaid time off to deal with unexpected problems with the care of dependants.

These rights apply to parents in same-sex as well as in opposite-sex relationships.

Paternity leave
If you are a working father, you are entitled to one or two weeks’ paternity leave when you and your partner have a child. Some other people are also entitled to paternity leave – see below. You can also qualify for paternity leave when you adopt a child. Most fathers will be entitled to statutory paternity pay for their paternity leave. Statutory Paternity Pay is paid at the same rate as Statutory Maternity Pay.

To qualify for paternity leave for a birth, you must:-

have been employed by the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth; and
be the biological father of the child, or be married to or be the partner of the baby’s mother (this includes same-sex partners, whether or not they are registered civil partners); and
have some responsibility for the child’s upbringing; and
have given your employer the correct notice to take paternity leave.

To qualify for paternity leave for an adoption, you must:-

be employed for at least 26 weeks by the time you are matched with your child for adoption. (You will not be entitled to paternity leave or pay if you already know the child, for example, if it’s your stepchild)
not be taking adoption leave. (Where you and a partner are adopting a child, one of you can take adoption leave and one paternity leave)
have some responsibility for the child’s upbringing
have given your employer the correct notice to take paternity leave.

When can you take paternity leave
If you are taking paternity leave for a birth, the leave can start either on the day the baby is born or on a date that has been agreed in advance with your employer. Your paternity leave cannot start before the baby is born, and, if you are agreeing a date later than the birth of your baby, it must be completed within 56 of days of the birth.
If you are taking paternity leave for an adoption, the leave can start either on the day that the child is placed with you, or on a date that has been agreed in advance with your employer. If you are agreeing a later leave date later than the date your child was placed with you, the leave must be completed within 56 days of the adoption date.

Telling the employer about your paternity leave

You need to be able to show your employer that you are entitled to paternity leave. To do this you must give the employer the following information:-

your name
the date the baby is due or the date of the birth. If you are adopting a child you should give the date that you were matched with your child or the date on which the child is placed with you
the date when you would like your paternity leave (and pay) to start
whether you are taking one or two week’s paternity leave
a declaration that you are entitled to paternity leave
a declaration that you are taking leave to support the mother or care for the child.

You can use self-certificates to provide this information to your employer. These self-certificates are available on the website of HM Revenue and Customs at:  www.hmrc.gov.uk for a birth child and  www.hmrc.gov.uk for an adopted child.

You must also give your employer notice that you want to take paternity leave. The notice must be in writing if your employer asks for written notice. You must give notice 15 weeks before the baby is due or, if this is not practical, as soon as possible once you know you want to take leave. If you are adopting a child, you must give notice no later than seven days after the date you are matched with your child for adoption. If this is not practical you must give notice as soon as possible once you know you want to take paternity leave.

If you change your mind about when you want to take paternity leave you can, but you should give your employer 28 days’ notice of the changed date.

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