Law guide: Workplace

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Statutory paternity pay

Statutory paternity pay

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Qualifying for statutory paternity pay

Births

You will qualify for statutory paternity pay (SPP) if you have:

  • At least 26 weeks' continuous employment with your employer up to and including the date of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (EWC) - the 'qualifying week'. The EWC is the week in which the expected date of the baby's birth falls - starting on Sunday and ending on Saturday
  • Average weekly earnings (AWE) at or above the lower earnings limit for National Insurance contributions (NICs) that applies at the end of the qualifying week (currently £113)
  • Given your employer 28 days' notice (in writing if requested) of the date from which you want to start your SPP. If you are entitled to statutory paternity leave you can give you this notice at the same time as your notice for that. If you can't give your employer the required notice then you should notify them as soon as reasonably practicable
  • Provided your employer with a written declaration of your 'family commitment', which must be submitted at least 28 days before the start of the SPP period. The declaration should state that you satisfy the conditions that entitle you to take statutory paternity leave and that you will be taking the time off to support the child's mother and/or care for the child. If it was not reasonably practicable for the notice to be provided in time then it should be given as soon as possible

The applicant also has to be:

  • An employed earner, i.e. someone working for an employer who is liable to pay secondary Class 1 NICs on their wages or salary
  • Working under a contract of service

This covers employees but an agency worker, for example, may also be eligible for SPP even if they are not eligible for statutory paternity leave.

If the employed earner has more than one employer, they may be able to claim SPP from each one.

Multiple births

The rate (and duration) of SPP remains the same regardless of the number of children resulting from a single pregnancy.

Stopping SPP

An employer can stop paying SPP for any week where an employee:

  • Dies in the previous week
  • Is taken into legal custody by the police, e.g. is arrested and/or in prison
  • Is paid statutory sick pay

Adoptions

The qualification criteria for SPP differ for UK and overseas adoptions.

UK adoptions

You qualify for SPP when you are adopting a child from within the UK if you have:

  • At least 26 weeks' continuous service with your employer by the Sunday in the week in which the adopter is notified of having been matched with the child. The week begins on a Sunday and ends the following Saturday.
  • Average weekly earnings (AWE) at or above the lower earnings limit (LEL) for National Insurance contributions (NICs) that applies at the end of the matching week (currently £113)
  • Given your employer 28 days' prior notice (in writing if requested) of the date from which you want to start your SPP. If you are entitled to statutory paternity leave you can give you this notice at the same time as his notice for that. If it was not reasonably practicable to give this notice in time then it should be given to as soon as possible
  • Provided your employer with a written declaration of your 'family commitment', which must be submitted at least 28 days before the start of the SPP period. The declaration should state that you satisfy the conditions that entitle you to take paternity leave and that you will be taking the time off to support the child's adopter mother and/or care for the child. If it was not reasonably practicable for the employee to give this notice in time then it should be given as soon as possible
  • Continued to work for their employer from the matching week to the date of placement

Overseas adoptions

There are several additional criteria for qualifying for SPP in the case of an adoption of a child overseas:

  • Received an official notification if adopting jointly or where your spouse/civil partner/partner has received official notification where you are not jointly adopting
  • Worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks up to and including the week the child enters the UK.
  • Continued to work for your employer up to the date of the child's entry into the UK

Employment status

To qualify for SPP for both UK and overseas adoptions, a person also has to be an employed earner - i.e. someone working for an employer who is liable to pay secondary Class 1 NICs on their wages or salary - and working under a contract of service.

Therefore an agency worker, for example, may be eligible for SPP even if they are not eligible for paternity leave.

If the employed earner has more than one employer, they may be able to claim SPP from each one.

What happens if the employee doesn't qualify?

If an employee does not qualify for SPP, or fails to provide the requisite notices or does not give adequate notice then their employer can refuse to pay SPP.

If there is a dispute between you and your employer over whether you should be paid SPP, then you can refer it to HM Revenue and Customs to make a formal decision.

The rate and duration of SPP

SPP is payable at a standard weekly rate £140.98 per week.

SPP can only be claimed for a period of one week or two consecutive weeks.

Stopping SPP

An employer can stop paying SPP if an employee:

  • Dies
  • Is taken into legal custody by the police, e.g. is arrested and/or in prison