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Government publishes response to proposal on reforming parental leave and pay

The government has published a response to a 2019 consultation on proposals for reforming parental leave and pay, 

The response sets out substantive changes to paternity leave which will be implemented in due course:

  • Employed fathers and partners will be able to take the current entitlement of up to two weeks’ statutory paternity leave in two separate blocks of one week of leave if they wish, rather than having to choose between taking one week or two weeks.
  • Employed fathers and partners will be able to take their statutory paternity leave at any time in the first year (within 52 weeks of birth or placement for adoption), rather than just in the first eight weeks after birth or placement for adoption.
  • Currently, notice of the date on which an employee wants paternity leave to start has to be provided 15 weeks before birth. The government will change the notice requirements for statutory paternity leave to make these more proportionate to the amount of time the father or partner plans to take off work. It is proposed that fathers will need to give 28 days’ notice before each period of leave they intend to take, although the notice of entitlement will still need to be given 15 weeks before birth.

Although the consultation also considered other family-related leaves, including maternity leave and pay, maternity allowance, and unpaid parental leave, no changes are currently proposed to these entitlements.