News & Views

Additional paternity leave

BY Donald MacKinnon
Employment law
BG Purple

Following the government’s decision to allow parents to share a period of leave after the birth of a child, new fathers will have the right to take a period of Additional Paternity Leave (APL) during the first year of their baby’s life.

Fathers will be entitled to a period of up to 26 weeks’ leave in respect of babies born after 3 April 2011. The APL must be taken after the mother of the child has returned to work, it must begin after the baby is 20 weeks old and must end on or before the baby’s first birthday. The entitlement to APL is in addition to the entitlement to Ordinary paternity leave which is a period of one or two weeks taken at the time of the birth of the baby.

In order to qualify for APL, a person must be the child's biological father or the spouse or partner (of either sex) of the child's mother.

APL entitlement also applies where a child has been adopted and the person entitled to take the leave is the spouse or partner (of either sex) of the person who has elected to take adoption leave. Here, the leave must be taken in the period between the 20 week anniversary and the one year anniversary of the child’s placement.

In order to qualify for APL an employee must have been in continuous employment for a period of 26 weeks ending with the week that is 15 weeks before the expected week of childbirth. There are also various administrative requirements which must be fulfilled, for example, the employee must give a minimum of 8 weeks’ notice that he intends to take APL and must provide evidence that the mother of the child has returned to work. The employer must confirm the start and finish dates of the APL within 28 days of receiving the employee’s notice that he is going to take APL.

An employee who is eligible for APL may also be eligible for additional statutory paternity pay.

For further information on Additional Paternity Leave, please see the Guidance note and style policy which can be accessed on the client area of our website at

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