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Dad’s the word

When dads take time-off work to help their partner with the caring for a new born baby, it has a positive impact on the family, including the children. Estimates suggest that in 2016 around 215,000 dads claimed paternity pay and around 6,000 employees shared parental leave. Would expect your partner to take paternity leave?

dad paternity

Leave or not to leave…

There are 3 types of parenting leave:

  1. Maternity leave is for mothers, helping them recover from the birth and establish a relationship with their baby. Taken as one block straight after the birth of a child. By law, mums receive 90% of their average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first 6 weeks; then £148.68 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks.
  2. Paternity leave is for dads, not only helping to support their partner in the first few weeks after birth, but also ensuring bonding with the new born. Dads get just 2 weeks paternity leave, paid at a minimum statutory rate £148.68 per week or 90 per cent of the average weekly earnings, whichever is less.
  3. Parental leave, which is taken by either or both parents to look after the baby during its first year. Since 2015 eligible mothers have been able to transfer all but the first two weeks of their maternity leave to their partners (must be eligible) under so-called ‘shared parental leave.

Remember that dads have no individual entitlement to parental leave, and the rate of pay remains at employers’ discretion.

Why take paternity leave?

Around 90% of fathers take annual leave near the time of their child’s birth. Having dads at home helps the mothers’ health and wellbeing. Sharing and caring during paternity leave and beyond can improve the relationship as a couple and help the family unit to bond.

Paternity leave: your rights

  • Qualifying dads can take up to 2 weeks’ paternity leave (should be taken in one-week chunks).
  • To be eligible for paternity leave, dads must take the time-off to look after the child; either the father of the child, the adopter of the child; the husband or partner of the mother (or adopter); or the intended parent (surrogacy).
  • Have worked for the employer continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (known as the ‘qualifying week’) or the end of the ‘matching week’ if adopting.
  • Must give the employer the correct notice period (15 weeks before the due date).

Many employers top up the paternity pay, but lots of employers do nothing. Here’s the rub, if the dad is self-employed, unemployed or an agency worker, he is entitled to nothing. That’s a real shame for many dads missing out on those precious moments of a new born baby.

ChildMax insurance pays your take home salary while you’re on 12 months’ unpaid leave caring for a sick child. It starts from £49.50 single payment. If your Leave of Absence coincides with your Paid Absence from Work (e.g. maternity/paternity leave) we will pay any shortfall between your Take Home Salary and the amount you receive for your Paid Absence from Work.

Visit at or call the UK call centre 0333 323 0098 for more information.


Date: 19 August 2019 by Max Robinson