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2 Employment - updated version available December '16

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1. Introduction

2. Do I need a contract of employment?

3. Do I have the right to work in the UK?

4. What is the least I should be paid?

5. How many hours can my employer make me work?

6. Does my employer have to recognise my trade union?

7. What if I've been dismissed unfairly?

8. Bringing a statutory claim for unfair dismissal

9. What if I've been made redundant?

10. Bringing a contractual claim for wrongful dismissal

11. What if I've been discriminated against?

12. What are my rights if I work part-time?

13. What are my rights if I'm having a baby?

14. Can I take leave as a new Father?

You can take either one or two weeks' paternity leave and receive paternity pay if you are:

  • the biological father of a new-born child; or
  • the mother's husband or partner.

You may also be able to take paternity leave if you are an adoptive parent as long as you are not taking adoption leave.

You must also:

  • be or expect to be responsible for bringing up the child; and
  • have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks ending with the week immediately before the 14th week before the child is due to be born or adopted.

Your employer can ask you to provide a 'self-certificate' (a signed declaration) to prove you are entitled to the paternity leave. You do this by filling in form SC3, 'Becoming a Parent', which you can get from HMRC - see 'Further help' for details.

When can I take the leave?
You can choose to take paternity leave as either one week or as two weeks together (but not odd days adding up to two weeks). You can choose to start your paternity leave:

  • on the date your child was born or adopted (even if this is earlier or later than expected);
  • a fixed number of days that you choose after your child has been born or adopted;
  • on a set date that you have told your employer about when you applied for paternity leave. The date must fall after the day the child is due to be born or adopted.

However, your leave must have finished within:

  • 56 days of the actual date your child was born or adopted; or
  • if your child was born earlier than expected, the period starting on the actual date your child was born and ending up to 56 days after the first day of the expected week of childbirth.

You can take only one period of leave at a time, no matter how many children are born or adopted at the same time. (Having twins does not mean you can take two periods of leave.) You cannot have both paternity and adoption leave.

What pay can I receive during paternity leave?
During paternity leave, you are entitled to receive Statutory Paternity Leave Pay (SPP) from your employer as long as you have been employed for at least 26 weeks before the 15th week before your child is due to be born or adopted. SPP is paid at £116 a week, or 90 per cent of your average weekly earnings if you earn less than £116 week.

During or before the 15th week before your child is expected to be born or adopted (or as soon as reasonably practical) you must tell your employer:

  • the week your child is due to be born or adopted;
  • whether you want to take one or two weeks 'leave;
  • when you want your leave to start.

You can change the date you want your paternity leave (and SPP) to start by giving your employer 28 days' notice (unless this is really not possible). Your employer can insist that you give them written notice of when you want to take paternity leave.

During your leave, you are entitled to your normal terms and conditions of employment, except for the ones relating to wages and salary (because this is when you are receiving SPP). Any contractual paternity pay (that is, pay you receive under your employment contract) will reduce the SPP you receive. The law says you must not be treated unfairly or dismissed for taking or wanting to take paternity leave.

At the end of your paternity leave, you are entitled to return to the job you had before. This also applies where paternity leave is followed by parental leave of four weeks or less.

15. What are my rights if I'm adopting a child?

16. What other leave can I get after my child is born or adopted?

17. Can I change my working arrangements if I have children?

18. Can I take time off if I am someone's carer?

19. Further Help

20. About this leaflet

This leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Ian Hunter, Head of the Employment Department, Bird & Bird, Solicitors.

The leaflets are regularly updated but the law may have changed since they were printed so the information in them may be incorrect or out of date.

Leaflet Version: January 2019

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