Paternity Leave Guide for Businesses

When parents are expecting a child, it’s not uncommon in the modern workplace for new fathers to want to take leave as much as their partners. With a growing need for paternity leave in the last few decades, it is important for businesses to offer the right level of leave to minimise disruption and maximise employee sentiment.

Paternity leave

Important Information about Paternity Leave

Paternity leave can be awarded to new fathers when their child is born, adopted, or foster care placement is imminent. All eligible part-time and full-time employees can request paternity leave after at least one year of employment, whether they are considered primary or non-primary caregivers. This type of leave can also be used to take time off for prenatal, adoption-related, or even surrogacy appointments.

Paternity usually covers the first ten weeks of birth (or adoption, etc.), but this can vary from business to business. Some policies may have a combination of partially paid, paid and unpaid leave and fathers may request an extension of another three weeks with the necessary department.

Businesses will be expected to maintain employee rights for the duration of paternity leave, including regular pay and benefits, as well as notify individuals of any company changes, policy changes, role changes and information regarding promotions (within good time to give them the ability to apply). It can be a worthwhile idea to get advice from an employment lawyer to ensure compliance with the current regulations and best practices.

Young father holding his baby

Application Practices

Those applying for paternity leave will typically need to submit a formal, written request at least three weeks in advance and this will need to state the expected date of birth (or adoption, etc.) and the desired start and end date of leave. They will also need to present any relevant formal documents that are requested by the awarding department (typically HR).

If the child is born (or arrives) early, adjustments can be made with a formal request for early leave. The more accommodating businesses are, the more favourably they will be seen by employees – and this can increase productivity and brand recognition.


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