United Kingdom: Draft regulations published to make the taking of paternity leave easier

In brief

In our previous alert, we reported on the UK government's announcement to introduce more flexibility into the statutory paternity leave regime. The government has now published draft regulations which, if passed, will be effective from March 2024 and apply to children born or placed for adoption from 6 April 2024.


In more detail

The draft regulations make the following changes to statutory paternity leave:

  • Employees will be able to choose to take statutory paternity leave in either one block of two weeks or two separate blocks of one week's leave. The current overall entitlement of two weeks' leave is unchanged.
  • Employees may take the leave at any time in the first year of birth/placement for adoption. The current regime requires the individual to take the leave within the first eight weeks after birth/placement for adoption.
  • Change to the notice requirements for taking the leave. Individuals will need to give their notice of entitlement 15 weeks before birth and give 28 days' notice before the dates that they intend to take each period of leave. Currently, individuals are required to notify their employer of their leave dates 15 weeks before the expected week of childbirth.
  • There are also new provisions dealing with entitlement to statutory paternity leave where there is a change of circumstances, e.g., a decision is made not to place the child for adoption, to return after placement for adoption, and upon the death of the child. 
  • Similar provisions apply to children being adopted from overseas and to intended parents in surrogacy arrangements.

The Regulations are proposed to come into force on 8 March 2024 and will apply to babies whose expected week of birth begins after 6 April 2024 (in practice, on or after 7 April) and children whose date of placement for adoption is on or after 6 April 2024.  

For advice or to discuss what this means for you and your business, please contact your usual Baker McKenzie contact.

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