An employee who has a child born or expected to be born or placed for adoption on or after 6th April 2003, and who satisfies certain conditions, is entitled to take either one week or two consecutive weeks (at his choice) as paternity leave. Statutory paternity leave can be taken any time up to 56 days after the date of birth or placement for adoption (or if the baby is born prematurely up to 56 days after the originally expected date of birth).

The employee must give his employer notice in or before the 15th week before the expected week of the child’s birth (there is a concession if it is not reasonably practicable to comply with this requirement).

The rules which give employees the right to paternity leave on adoption of a child are separate from, and in addition to, the rules which give their spouses, or partners the right to adoption leave.

In most cases the employee will be entitled to statutory paternity pay (”SPP”) during his leave (or even her leave because, bizarrely, in spite of the title it is possible for a woman to be entitled to statutory paternity leave if the spouse/partner of a man who has adopted a child). It will be the lesser of £100 per week or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings.