My foreman and his wife are expecting a baby in December. I have heard talk of new rules on paternity leave. Exactly how much leave may he ask for?
The statutory right to take Ordinary Paternity Leave (‘OPL’) was introduced in 2003. Your foreman may ask for 1 – 2 consecutive weeks OPL following the birth of the baby. To be eligible he must satisfy certain conditions and comply with notice requirements. The weekly rate from April 2011 is £128.73 or 90% of his weekly earnings, whichever is less.
However, a new statutory right to take Additional Paternity Leave (‘APL’) was introduced on 3 April 2011. A father may now ask for up to 26 weeks APL. He must be eligible and give you the prescribed notice and declarations. In addition, his wife must also be entitled to maternity leave, statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance and must have returned to work before using all of her entitlement. If your foreman’s wife does not work he will not be eligible for APL. Even if she works, he will only be eligible if she returns to work. If he is eligible, then the earliest date he could take APL is 20 weeks after the baby is born. He may also be entitled to be paid for the remaining weeks of maternity pay his wife would be entitled to, had she not returned to work. This will be up to a maximum of 19 weeks’ at the rate set out above for OPL.
Employment law is complex and always changing. If your foreman asks you for either OPL or APL then you should seek specialist advice. If you get it wrong, you may face an Employment Tribunal claim.