Your paternity leave, pay and other rights

Checking you can get paternity leave

You might be eligible for up to 2 weeks' paternity leave if you're responsible for the child's upbringing and either:

  • you're the biological father
  • your partner is having a baby, adopting a child or having a child through surrogacy

Same-sex parents

If you’re a same-sex partner, it’s still called paternity leave. One partner can take paternity leave and the other can take maternity leave or adoption leave.

You could also choose Shared Parental Leave.

Having a baby through surrogacy

If you’re a couple having a baby through surrogacy, one of you can take adoption leave, the other paternity leave.

Eligibility for paternity leave when having a baby

To be eligible for paternity leave when you and your partner are having a baby, including through surrogacy, you must:

If you’re not eligible for paternity leave, you still might be able to get paternity pay.

Eligibility for paternity leave for adoption

To be eligible for paternity leave when adopting a child, you must be legally classed as an employee.

You must have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks before the end of the week when:

  • you’re told you’ve been matched with a child, for adoption in the UK
  • the date the child enters the UK, for overseas adoption

If you’re not eligible for paternity leave, you still might be able to get paternity pay.

Telling your employer

When having a baby

To get paternity leave when you and your partner are having a baby, including through surrogacy, you must tell your employer:

  • when your baby is due
  • whether you want to take 1 or 2 weeks' leave
  • when you want the leave to start

You must tell your employer no later than the 15th week before your baby is due.

It’s a good idea to provide this information in writing.

When adopting

You must tell your employer within 7 days of being matched with a child. You should also tell them:

  • the date you’re matched with the child
  • the placement start date
  • whether you want to take 1 or 2 weeks' leave
  • when you want the leave to start

It’s a good idea to provide this information in writing.

If your employer asks for proof

Your employer might ask for self-certification (‘form SC3’), which you must sign and confirm to the best of your knowledge you’re:

  • eligible for paternity leave
  • taking the leave to care for your child

Find form SC3 on GOV.UK.

If you’re worried about telling your employer

Your employer cannot refuse or postpone your paternity leave as long as you have given them the right amount of notice.

It’s against the law for your employer to dismiss you or treat you unfairly in any other way just because you tell them you want to take paternity leave.

Agency workers

If you work through an agency, you’re not usually entitled to paternity leave, but you might be entitled to paternity pay.

If you’re no longer with your partner

If you’ve separated from your partner but have ongoing parental responsibility for your child, you can still get paternity leave and pay.

Your paternity leave, pay and other rights