An employee's paternity pay:
- starts when paternity leave starts
- lasts for as long as their paternity leave – the legal entitlement is no more than 2 weeks, some workplaces offer more
The employee's contract should state how much paternity pay they get.
Pay set out in the employment contract is known as 'enhanced' or 'contractual' paternity pay, if it's above the legal minimum for paternity pay. The legal minimum is known as Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP).
Offering enhanced paternity pay can help your business attract and keep the best employees.
3. The legal minimum for paternity pay
If your workplace does not offer enhanced paternity pay, you must pay the employee whichever of these is lower:
- 90% of their average weekly earnings
- SPP – currently £151.20 a week
An employee is eligible for SPP if they’re employed at the time of the birth. By the 15th week before the baby is due, they must also:
- have worked continuously for the business for at least 26 weeks
- earn on average at least £120 a week
If an employer offers enhanced paternity pay, this must always be higher than SPP.
Notice when claiming Statutory Paternity Pay
There's a 15-week notice period to claim SPP for paternity.
An employee may have a good reason to give less notice than they’re supposed to. For example, a father may not be aware of a pregnancy until a late stage. In these situations they should give you as much notice as they reasonably can.
An employee can use forms for telling you they want to claim leave or pay for paternity. Find HMRC’s forms on GOV.UK.
If they’re adopting and claiming Statutory Paternity Pay
Find out about the rules on SPP eligibility and notice if your employee is adopting.
Calculating Statutory Paternity Pay
You can use the paternity pay calculator on GOV.UK.
If they’re not eligible for Statutory Paternity Pay
You can refuse SPP if your employee does not qualify. To do, this send them form SPP1 from GOV.UK within 28 days of their pay request. You must keep a copy.
Your employee can ask you to explain your decision in writing. If they do, you must provide the decision within a reasonable time, for example 7 working days.
If the employee does not return to work after paternity leave
The employee does not have to repay SPP if they do not return to work after paternity leave.
The employee must repay any enhanced paternity pay they've taken, if their written terms ('written statement of employment particulars') say so.
The written terms must be clear about the circumstances when enhanced paternity pay will be repaid. Before you start paying this money to the employee, you should also remind them of any repayment conditions.