head head head

My partner is adopting. Am I entitled to paternity leave?

You are entitled to paid paternity leave if:

  • you have been continuously employed by your current employer for 26 weeks or more when your partner is notified that they have been matched with a child; and
  • you are either married to, or are the partner of, the person adopting the child; and
  • you expect to have the main responsibility, along with the person adopting the child, for the upbringing of the adopted child.

You are entitled to take either one week or two consecutive weeks’ ordinary paternity leave. The period in which you must take your leave will begin on the day the child is placed with the adopting parent and will finish 56 days after that date. Your leave period can start on:

  • the day the placement is made; or
  • a day which falls a certain number of days after the placement is made, as specified by you to your employer; or
  • a pre-determined date that falls after the first day of the week that the child is placed, which you specify to your employer.

Also, for children born on or after 3 April 2011, a father (with the mother’s agreement) can take additional paternity leave (APL). Specifically, under the Additional Paternity Leave Regulations 2010, mothers will have the option to transfer all or part (a minimum of two weeks and maximum of 26 weeks) of their maternity leave to fathers.

This leave cannot be taken before the baby is 20 weeks old. Any of the mother's Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) entitlement that she hasn't used can also be transferred to the father on APL.

However, although the statutory scheme is not generous, where an employer offers enhanced maternity pay to mothers, someone taking additional paternity leave would be being discriminated against if s/he was not paid the same higher rate by his or her employer.