Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Changes to maternity and paternity leave

Posted on: May 8, 2011

This is a Guest Blog written by Sandra Beale from SJ Beale HR Consult Ltd.

On 3 April 2011 the standard rate of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay increases from £124.88 to £128.73.  Furthermore there will be changes to maternity and paternity leave with a right to additional paternity leave for fathers with babies due on or after 3 April 2011.


Fathers already have the right to take up to two weeks’ paternity leave which is paid at the statutory rate. The new right involves fathers (or partners of the mothers) taking up to 26 weeks leave if the mother returns to work without taking all of her maternity leave, the child is 20 weeks old and before they have their first birthday. The new legislation will also apply to fathers/partners who are matched for adoption on after 3 April 2011.  The right extends to the spouse, civil partner and partner of the child’s mother where they have the main responsibility (with the exception of the mother) for caring for the child.  The new right might be particularly welcomed by couples where the mother is the higher earner and who wishes to return to work and allow the child to be looked after by her partner.  The father (or partner) will have to give no less than eight weeks’ notice of their intention to take the leave and will have similar protections whilst on additional paternity leave to those that women benefit from during maternity leave (i.e. the right to return to the same job, keeping in touch days, etc).  An employer has the right to request evidence of the birth/adoption.


Actions employers need to take:


Review maternity and paternity policies and procedures to ensure they takeinto account the changes from April 2011 onwards




Put systems in place to ensure the correct information about additional paternity leave and pay is captured – by using template notices and employee/mother declaration forms




Organise internal processes to ensure that entitlement to additional paternity leave/pay is included


For more information contact Sandra Beale on 07762 771290.



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