At last! More flexibility is now available to fathers and partners taking Statutory Paternity Leave (SPL) in England, Scotland and Wales. These welcome changes apply to leave taken for expected births or adoption placements on or after 6 April 2024. The Government states they are intended to:

  • “Enable fathers/partners to play a stronger childcare role by increasing the flexibility of how and when Statutory Paternity Leave and Pay can be taken, and
  • make it easier for fathers/partners to take Paternity Leave and Pay at the most appropriate time for their families by reducing notice requirements for leave periods.”

From 8 March 2024, three important changes have been introduced:

  1. Statutory paternity leave can be divided into one-week blocks rather than taking it all at once.
  2. Leave can be taken at any time during the first year rather than only the first eight weeks after birth or placement for adoption.
  3. The notice period necessary for each term of absence has been reduced to four weeks. (Previously, it was 15 weeks.) However, the father or partner must still notify their employer of their entitlement 15 weeks before the baby’s due date.

Higher Statutory Paternity Pay

The rate for Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) is also due to change from 6 April 2024. Payments will increase from £172.48 per week to £184.03 per week or 90% of an individual’s earnings, whichever is the lower figure.

Although the word ‘paternity’ itself refers to men, Statutory Paternity Leave and Pay are available to eligible employees regardless of gender.

Employers – are you ready?

Employers are responsible for paying their employees who are on paternity leave. ‘SPP is paid in the same manner as an employee’s normal wages, so their payments will have tax and national insurance deducted in the usual way,’ advises Felicity Reader of re:accounts Chartered Accountants in Stevenage.

It’s important to pay employees the correct amount at the right time. If you would like to discuss how these changes impact your payroll, contact the re: accounts team. Let’s talk.