My VIP Tax Team question of the week: Changes to Statutory Paternity Leave

I have heard that there are going to be some changes to Statutory Paternity Leave, what are these as I have an employee who is due to go on to paternity leave during April 2024.

Changes are going to be made to the existing Statutory Paternity Leave (SPL) legislation to add greater flexibility to those wanting to take advantage of the leave.

The changes are being made through the Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 which come into force on 8 March 2024. These changes will only apply to England, Scotland, and Wales, they will not apply to Northern Ireland.

The changes will apply to leave taken for babies whose expected week of birth begins after 6 April 2024 and to children whose expected week of adoption is on or after 6 April 2024.

There are three main changes to take note of. These changes are as follows and will:

• allow fathers and partners to take their leave in two non-consecutive blocks of one week or one block of leave of two weeks. This is a change from the current rule of an individual only being allowed to take one block of leave whether that is taken as one or two weeks.
• enable fathers and partners to take their leave during the 52 weeks after the birth or adoption of their child. Currently the rule is that SPL must be taken within 8 weeks of the child’s birth or adoption date.
• shorten the required notice that a father or partner will be required to give their employer when they wish to take their two week block or each one week block of SPL to 4 weeks’ notice for the birth of their child from the current arrangements of giving notice of their SPL dates by the Saturday of the 15th week before the week the baby is due. However, the father or partner must still give their employer a notification of entitlement 15 weeks prior to the due date of the baby.

Fathers and partners will be able to take SPL using the new rules before 6 April 2024 if their baby was born early as long as the expected week of birth begins after 6 April 2024.

The rate for Statutory Paternity Pay is also due to increase from 7 April 2024 from £172.48 per week to £184.03 per week or 90% of an individual’s earnings, whichever is the lower figure.

HMRC state that their new guidance for Statutory Paternity Leave will be available in March 2024 at the time that the changes in legislation come into force.

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Payroll Adviser
0844 892 2470

Sue is a Payroll Adviser on the tax consultancy advice lines. Sue has over 20 years of payroll experience gained both from working in a payroll bureau for a chartered accountants and more recently as a payroll manager for a large retail company.

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