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Statutory paternity pay

Statutory paternity pay

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 (LEL) for National Insurance contributions (NICs) that applies at the end of the qualifying week
  • Provided your employer with the necessary notice requirements (see Paternity leave: births).

Statutory paternity pay: adoptions

The qualification criteria for statutory paternity pay differ for UK and overseas adoptions.

UK adoptions

You will 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
  • Have 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 (see the current LEL here)
  • Provided your employer with the necessary notice requirements (see Paternity leave: UK adoptions).

Note that in Northern Ireland, there are some differences in the notice requirements for paternity leave and paternity pay. To claim paternity pay, at least 28 days before the start of your paternity leave, you need to tell your employer when your leave will start, and give them a written declaration that:

  • You will use the time to care for the child and/or support the child's adopter; and
  • You're either jointly adopting the child, or you're married to or the partner of the adopter and will have the main responsibility (with the adopter/other joint adopter) for the child.

If it's not reasonably practicable for you to give your employer the start date and declaration in time, you need to give it to them as soon as it is reasonably practicable.

Overseas adoptions

You'll qualify for SPP when involved in adopting a child from overseas if you:

  • Meet the criteria and notification requirements to qualify for paternity leave (see Paternity leave: overseas adoptions)
  • Have average weekly earnings (AWE) at or above the lower earnings limit (LEL) for NICs which applies at the point when the adopter receives official notification or you complete 26 weeks' service, whichever is later. See the current LEL here).

Note that in Northern Ireland, you must give your employer a written declaration at least 28 days before the start of your paternity leave, stating that you:

  • satisfy the conditions that entitle you to take paternity leave; and
  • will be taking the time off to support the child's adopter mother and/or care for the child.

Employment status

To qualify for SPP (for births or UK/overseas adoptions), you have to be:

  • An employed earner, i.e. an employee or office holder (someone working as a director of a company)
  • Liable to pay secondary Class 1 NICs on your wages or salary

Although this generally applies to employees, 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.

Failing to qualify for SPP

If you don't qualify for SPP (either because you aren't eligible or you don't comply with the notice requirements), your employer can refuse to pay SPP.

They must give you a completed form SPP1, which is available from HM Revenue and Customs.

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

The rate and duration of SPP

Up to 2 weeks of SPP is available. It's payable at either the statutory weekly rate (see the current rate here, or 90% of your AWE – whichever is lower.

You can calculate statutory paternity pay on GOV.UK.

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

Ending SPP payments

Your employer can stop paying SPP if you:

  • Die; or
  • Work for another employer whom you did not work for during the qualifying week (or adoption matching week).

Your employer does not have to pay you SPP for any week during which you do some work for them.

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