27th January 2016

Sydney Rain and Louis' Gain: Paternity Rights in the UK

“Sydney Rain” is trending on Twitter.  You’d be forgiven for thinking this was a weather forecast from Down Under.  It’s not.  Instead it’s the suspected name of One-Directioner, Louis Tomlinson’s new-born son.  With that in mind, I thought it appropriate to remind myself of the various paternity rights in the UK.

  • Ante-natal Appointments: Fathers are entitled to unpaid time off during working hours to accompany the mother to up to two ante-natal appointments.
  • Ordinary Paternity Leave: Paternity leave of up to two weeks can be taken immediately after the baby is born, or any time within the following eight weeks.  Paternity leave can either be one whole week or two consecutive whole weeks – it can’t be broken up into odd days.
  • Statutory Paternity Pay: SPP is currently £139.58 per week or 90% of average weekly earnings, if that is less.  During paternity leave, employees are entitled to keep all other normal terms and conditions, apart from salary.
  • Right to Return: Unless a redundancy situation has arisen, the father is entitled to return to his old job on the same terms and conditions.
  • Unfair dismissal: A worker will be unfairly dismissed if the reason or main reason for dismissal is connected with the fact that the worker took, or tried to take, paternity leave.
  • Shared Parental Leave: SPL provides parents with the opportunity to consider the best arrangements to care for the child during the child’s first year.  It enables eligible parents to share the caring evenly or have one parent taking the main caring role.

Fortunately none of these rights will be too relevant to Louis on the basis that all members of One Direction have decided to go in… well… a different direction.  Parental leave rights are constantly changing and employers would do well to address these changes in a staff handbook.  If you need advice about any of these issues, the Blackadders’ employment team are always happy to help.

So congratulations Louis – and welcome to the world, Sydney Rain.  I wonder if we’ll see the ripple effect of your son’s name throughout Scotland in the next few months – Will we encounter a surge in the name “Aberdeen Snow”?  Or how about “Dundee Fog”?  But seriously, I’m not going to make any cruel or unwanted jokes about these parents’ choice of name.  I guess That’s What Makes Me Beautiful…

Simon Allison
Partner – Head of Employment Law



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