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Website URL : http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3280

Happy Mother's Day - help for working mums

Friday 01 April 2011

Mums whose child is born from 3 April onwards could get a helping hand from their partner when it comes to bringing up baby.

From this date, employed fathers will have a legal right to up to six months extra leave which can be taken once the mother has returned to work. The leave may be paid if taken during the mother's maternity pay period.

Acas, the employment relations experts, have issued new guidance to help expectant parents and their employers understand what the new rules mean for them.

Acas Guidance Manager Adrian Wakeling said:

"We get a lot of visits to our webpages about paternity rights and expect this to increase now additional paternity leave has been introduced.

"Employers are often not sure what responsibilities they have towards new fathers and want to make sure they are doing the right thing whilst parents-to-be don't always know what they are entitled to. Our guidance on paternity leave and pay answers all these questions."

Additional paternity leave allows employees who are eligible to take up to 26 weeks leave to care for their new baby. It can be taken any time from 20 weeks after the child is born, but it must have finished by the child's first birthday. In the case of adoption it can start anytime between 20 weeks and 52 weeks after the child starts living with the adopter.

If mums don't want to give up any of their maternity leave their partner can still help out in other ways. Fathers are also entitled to:

  • Request flexible working - parents of a child 16 or under, are entitled to request flexible working such as flexi time, part time or working from home, and, by law, an employer must seriously consider the request
  • Parental leave - parents have the right to take up to 13 weeks unpaid leave until their child is five years old.

The standard rates of statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay will also increase from £124.88 to £128.73 per week from 3 April 2011.

Notes for editors

  1. Acas guidance on paternity leave and pay is available at www.acas.org.uk/paternity
  2. Employed fathers were previously entitled to two weeks paid paternity leave whilst mothers are entitled to 52 weeks maternity leave, of which up to 39 weeks are paid
  3. Additional paternity leave may be available if:
    • you are the father of a child due on or after 3 April 2011
    • your wife, partner or civil partner is pregnant and due to give birth to a child on or after 3 April 2011
    • you and your partner receive notification that you are matched with a child for adoption on or after 3 April 2011
    • your wife, partner or civil partner is adopting a child from overseas and the child enters Great Britain on or after 3 April 2011
    • the child's mother is entitled to statutory maternity leave, maternity pay or allowance or statutory adoption leave or pay.
  4. To qualify for additional paternity leave and pay employers must receive notice in writing at least eight weeks before the start of the leave. This must include:
    • the expected date of the baby's birth or date of notified of being matched for adoption
    • the actual date of baby's birth, or placement of adoption
    • the start date of the Additional Paternity leave and pay
    • relationship to the mother, and leave is taken to care for the child
  5. Parental leave provides employees - both mothers and fathers - who have completed one year's service with their employers the right to 13 weeks' (unpaid) parental leave until the child's fifth birthday
  6. Whether you are an employer, employee or representative, you can call the national Acas helpline for free and impartial advice Monday - Friday, 8am - 8pm and Saturday, 9am - 1pm on 08457 47 47 47.

For media enquires only contact Matt Barker, Media and PR Manager, on 020 7210 3924 or Lou Owen, Media and Marketing Officer, on 020 7210 3920.