The UK Government has published the draft Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 stetting out proposed changes to paternity leave rights.
The new rules are set to come into effect when the Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC) is or after on 6 April 2024.
Key changes under the draft legislation
The key changes under the new legislation include:
- Fathers and partners can now choose to take their two weeks of statutory paternity leave as either two separate one-week blocks or as two consecutive weeks. This is offers enhanced flexibility to employees on the current provisions.
- The period of leave can be taken at any point within the first year after the birth or adoption of the child. Currently, fathers are required to take paternity leave within 56 days following the date of birth or adoption.
- The dates for the leave can be varied with 28 days’ notice. This is change to the current requirement to give at least 15 weeks’ notice before the EWC.
- For domestic adoptions, the notice period for taking paternity leave is reduced from seven days to four weeks, providing fathers with more time to prepare for their new role.
- Fathers and partners on paternity leave, or within six months of taking it, are now protected from redundancy, unless certain specific redundancy criteria are met.
- While the regulations address leave arrangements, statutory paternity pay is to remain at the current rate of £151.97 per week, paid for two weeks, unless eligible for company schemes offering enhanced pay.
- Employers are still required to report paternity leave taken to HMRC through RTI (Real Time Information) payroll submissions.
Considerations for employers
The changes are set to take effect from 6 April 2024, and will coincide with other changes to family-related policies such as revisions to flexible working rights, the extension of the protected period following pregnancy snd maternity leave and the introduction of carers’ leave.
In light of the proposals, employers should take action to understand the new rules and implement the necessary changes to ensure compliance. This should include reviewing and updating all relevant policies, procedures and systems, training relevant personnel such as HR and lion managers and communicating the changes to entitlements to employees.
For advice on the proposed changes and how they may affect your organisation, contact us.
Last updated: 15 January 2024