The new Additional Paternity Pay and Leave due to be introduced in April 2011, will provide couples with the flexibility to choose which parent stays at home on statutory leave following the birth or adoption of a child.
Fathers will have the right to take up to 26 weeks Additional Paternity Leave with up to 13 weeks of the leave with statutory pay, where the leave falls during the mother’s maternity pay period and she has returned to work. The minimum amount of leave that an employee can apply for is two consecutive weeks.
This new right applies to fathers of babies expected on or after 3 April 2011 and is in addition to their current right to take one or two weeks Statutory Paternity Pay and leave.
Similarly, this also applies to adoptions. Employees can apply for Additional Paternity Pay and leave if the primary adopter qualifies for Statutory Adoption Pay and is returning to work early from adoption leave.
Although the scheme is not due to start until 2011, in rare cases of an early birth which may occur from November 2010 employers may have to calculate entitlement manually. As there will be no changes to the P35 and P14 for 2010/11 where an employer has had to pay Additional Paternity Pay during 2010/11 then the amount paid should be added to SPP paid during reporting.
Additional Paternity Pay cannot be taken earlier than 20 weeks after the baby has been born or placed (unless the mother or primary adopter dies) and must cease by the end of the 52nd week after the birth or placement.
To qualify, an employee must provide their employer with 8 weeks’ notice prior to leaving that they intend to take leave. The employer must confirm within 28 days the date the leave will begin. If an employee wants to take Additional Paternity Pay and leave, he must provide his employer with a statement of his intention to take leave to care for the child. The child’smother must also provide the father’s employer with information including the fact that the employee is the only one exercising the right to Additional Paternity Pay and leave.
The qualification rules are the same as for Statutory Paternity Pay; the employee must be employed at least 26 consecutive weeks, have average weekly earnings of at least the lower earnings limit for NI.
Where the Additional Paternity Leave begins during the period of the mother’s maternity pay period then they will qualify with up to 13 week’s Additional Statutory Paternity Pay. Payment is calculated as the lower of 90% of the father’s average weekly earnings or the flat rate of SPP which is currently £124.88.
Employers can reclaim Additional Paternity Pay from their monthly or quarterly payment of PAYE, NIC and Student Loan deduction to HMRC at the same rate as for SPP. The reclaim rate is 92% unless the employer qualifies as a small employer where the reclaim is 104.5% (see Helpbook E15 for details).