Paternity policy

  • 1. Introduction

    Paternity Pay and Leave are statutory rights: eligible staff may take up to 2 weeks’ paid time off work (pro rata for part-time staff) to provide care and support to their family after their partner has given birth, or adopted a child. This includes adopting a baby through surrogacy and ‘fostering to adopt’ arrangements.   The University has also extended this statutory right to the mother’s nominated carer in certain circumstances as described in the Eligibility section below (see section 4). 

    2. Aims

    The aims of this policy are to explain:

    • the provisions of paternity leave and pay

    • who is eligible

    • how to apply.

    3. Scope and interpretation

    This policy applies to all eligible employees of the University.

    See the Shared Parental Leave (add link) for additional leave and pay.

    4. Eligibility

    To qualify for Paternity Leave and Pay employees must:

    • be the biological father of the child or be the spouse,  or civil partner of the child’s mother, or in the case of adoption, be an adoptive parent or the adopter's spouse, civil partner, and inclusive of all gender identities.  

    or

    be the pregnant employee’s nominated carer (i.e. someone providing close personal support in a situation where the employee does not have a partner and is not being supported by the child’s father.)  Normally only available to a member of the mother’s immediate family.

    And

    • have 26 weeks’ or more continuous service by the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC)

    or

    for UK adoption, at least 26 weeks up to and including the week your spouse, civil or long-term partner was matched with a child for adoption

    or

    for overseas adoption, have worked continuously for at least 26 weeks by either the date the child arrives in the UK or when they want their pay to start;

    • remain in employment up to the date the baby is born or placed with the adopter;

    • have average earnings above the LEL (Lower Earnings Limit) in an 8 week “relevant” period.

    This calculation will be especially relevant to those who work on a casual/hourly-paid basis or have been on unpaid leave.  Payroll will be able to check this for employees;

    • have or expect to have responsibility for the child’s upbringing and be requesting leave  to either support the mother/adopter or to care for the child;

    5. Entitlement

    To enable employees to balance work and family commitments the University, subject to eligibility,  has enhanced the statutory entitlements for partners as illustrated in the table below:

    Statutory Entitlement University Enhanced Entitlements
    Either one week or two consecutive weeks’ (pro rata) paternity leave.
    There is no additional leave for multiple births, e.g. twins.

    As statutory entitlement but leave can also be taken as individual days.

    An additional week (pro rata) of leave in the case of multiple births.


    Up to two weeks’ (pro rata) Statutory Paternity Pay. Two weeks (pro rata) full pay (which includes Statutory Paternity Pay where eligible)
    Statutory Paternity Leave and Pay should be taken within 8 weeks of the birth/adoption placement. Paternity Leave and Pay may be taken up to six months following the child’s birth or adoption placement, but dates must be agreed with line manager.
    Regardless of length of service you may take unpaid time off for up to two antenatal appointments. As per statutory entitlement, however, consideration will be given for any reasonable requests for paid time off to attend antenatal appointments and classes supported by official evidence of appointments (eg. using annual leave or accrued TOIL).  
    Statutory Paternity Leave and Pay will apply if a stillbirth occurs after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Same as Statutory entitlement

    Extended the right to request paid leave to the mother’s nominated carer (i.e. someone providing close personal support to a pregnant employee in a situation where the mother does not have a partner and is not being supported by the child’s father.)  Normally only available to a member of the mother’s immediate family.

    6. Applying for Paternity Leave

    To apply for Paternity Leave eligible employees should give at least 15 weeks’ before the baby's due date notice of their planned dates using the Application for Paid Paternity Leave form, which should  be authorised by the line manager and forwarded to the HR department following completion. HR will write to the employee confirming the Paternity Pay and Leave arrangements. The employee will also be given a link to the appropriate government form (SC3,4 or 5) which they will need to complete on-line.  

    7. Terms and Conditions

    Terms and conditions of employment will remain unchanged during Paternity Leave and any salary deductions, such as pension, trade union subscriptions, etc, will be deducted as usual.

    8. Exceptional Circumstances

    In the sad event of a miscarriage after the start of the 24th week of pregnancy, or a baby is born alive at any point in the pregnancy but later dies, eligible employees will still qualify for Paternity Leave.  

    Employees will be treated compassionately and any absence from work will be handled under the normal sick pay and/or compassionate leave arrangements.   Support may be provided by Occupational Health including the option for counselling.

    Helpful information