Changes to paternity leave

Posted on January 31st, 2024

The government has published new draft legislation, The Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024, which will come into force on 8 March 2024. It will only apply to parents where the expected week of childbirth is on, or after, 6 April 2024, and to children whose expected date of placement for adoption, expected date of entry into Great Britain for adoption or expected date of parental order, is on, or after, 6 April 2024.

The new legislation will:

  • Provide more flexibility by allowing fathers and partners to take their two weeks’ leave in two separate blocks of one week, rather than having to take it in one block.
  • Allow fathers and partners to take the leave at any time within the first year of a child’s birth, rather than in the first eight weeks.
  • Reduce the notice period fathers and partners must provide before taking each period of leave from 15 weeks to four weeks. However, notice of entitlements must still be given to an employer 15 weeks before the expected week of childbirth or expected date.

There is also a change to the declaration of entitlement. Currently, an employer may ask an employee to sign a declaration stating that they are an eligible parent and that they wish to take paternity leave for legitimate purposes, that is, for childcare reasons. However, under the new legislation, an employee must declare their eligibility and the legitimate purpose for taking the leave.

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