Draft legislation in the form of Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024, set to be effective from April 2024 is currently under parliamentary review. Aiming to revise the current paternity leave legislation, these amendments include alterations in the stipulation for uninterrupted leave duration, notice to take parental leave and the timing for taking paternity leave.

What are the proposed changes?

The proposed 2024 amendment will modify the Paternity and Adoption Leave Regulations 2002, the Paternity and Adoption Leave (Adoption from Overseas) Regulations 2003, and the Paternity, Adoption, and Shared Parental Leave (Parental Order Cases) Regulations 2014.

Will paid paternity leave entitlement remain at two weeks?

Whilst the two-week entitlement will remain, employees will have the option to split their two-week paternity leave entitlement into two separate one-week periods. As it stands, this leave must be taken as a single block, either one or two weeks long. Consequently, if only one week of leave is used, the remaining week cannot be taken at a later date.

Does the legislation still require leave to be taken in the 56 days following the birth?

Within the proposal of changes, the permissible period for taking paternity leave will extend to the entire first year as opposed to taking the leave in the 56 days following the birth (or adoption of the child).

Is there an amendment to notice of intention to take paternity leave?

The current law requires notice to be given 15 weeks before the Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC). This will be reduced to 28 days, allowing for more flexibility in respect of the family needs. However, in domestic adoption cases, the seven-day notice period post-adoption match will remain due to the unpredictable nature of the adoption process.

These regulations are due to take effect on or after 6 April 2024 which coincides with other family-friendly legal changes such as carer’s leave and changes to flexible working rights.

How Backhouse can help:

Employers and employees alike should familiarise themselves with these changes to understand their rights and responsibilities under the new legislation. If you have any questions regarding the new amendments and how you could be affected, please contact our expert Employment Law team.

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