Your paternity leave, pay and other rights

Other rights when you and your partner are having a baby or adopting a child

Time off for appointments

By law, you have the right to go to 2 pregnancy-related ('antenatal') or adoption appointments with your partner if you're:

  • the biological father
  • the secondary adopter and have been matched with a child
  • to be a parent through surrogacy and will be applying for a parental order

Your employer does not have to pay you for this time off – check your contract.

You can take a maximum of 6.5 hours for each appointment, including travel to and from the appointment.

If you want to go to more appointments, you could talk with your employer to see if you could use:

  • your holiday
  • flexible working
  • unpaid leave

If you work through an agency

If you've worked through the same agency for at least 12 weeks, you have the right to attend up to 2 unpaid antenatal appointments with your partner.

If your partner is having a difficult pregnancy

If your partner is having a difficult pregnancy or pregnancy-related illnesses and you want to care for them, there's no entitlement for you to have time off. 

But you can talk with your employer and they might agree to you using:

  • holiday
  • unpaid leave
  • flexible working

You might be entitled to time off to help your partner if there's an urgent situation. This is called time off for dependants and is usually unpaid.

If your baby is premature or sick

If your baby is born prematurely or needs to stay in hospital for a time after birth, remember you can take your paternity leave within 8 weeks after the date your baby was:

  • born
  • due to be born, if you'd rather take it once your baby is home from hospital

You do not have to give your employer any formal evidence, but your workplace might have a policy that needs you to contact them as soon as you can.

If there's a stillbirth or your baby dies

You still have the right to paternity leave and pay if:

  • your baby is stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy
  • your baby dies soon after birth

If you're eligible for parental bereavement leave and pay, you have the right to take this after you finish your paternity leave.

It's a good idea to tell your employer if you feel able to, as they could offer support such as a counselling service or look at how you return to work.

You do not have to give your employer any formal evidence, but your workplace might have a policy that needs you to contact them as soon as you can.

The legal name for the time off is 'statutory paternity leave'. If you're not comfortable calling it 'paternity leave' try and let your employer know so they can support you. Employers should be sensitive to your preference and be led by you when having conversations about leave.

You can find help and support following the death of a baby before, during or shortly after birth from:

If there's a miscarriage

If there's a miscarriage before 24 weeks, you're not entitled to paternity leave and pay.

You do not have to tell your employer about the miscarriage. But it's a good idea to tell them, if you feel able to, so they can offer you any support that's available, including time off.

Find out more about what to do after a death

You can also find help and support from the Miscarriage Association.

If you're treated unfairly because of paternity

If you feel your employer has treated you unfairly because of paternity leave, it's usually best to raise it informally with them first.

If the issue cannot be resolved, you have the right to claim to an employment tribunal.