Additional paternity leave law in consultation document

The government has published its consultation document containing further proposals around additional paternity leave (APL) and pay.

The consultation, which closes on 3 August 2007, will ask opinions on how APL and pay should be administered, such as whether parents should be able to self certify their eligibility. Elizabeth Lang, associate at law firm Bird & Bird, said: “The [law is] going to happen, this consultation is just about the technicalities.”

Under APL, men will be given the opportunity to take up to 26 weeks leave, providing certain conditions are met, such as the mother returns to work. To qualify, men must have been with their employer for 26 weeks’ continuous service before the fifteenth week prior to their baby’s birth. They must then have served a further 15 weeks before the birth.

Men will be provided the same statutory pay as women, which currently stands at £112.75 a week, should they take the additional leave.

According to Lang, the proposals should be welcomed by employers as they reflect the changing face of working families in the UK. “This could begin to change the culture of the workplace, because now a third of households have a woman as the main breadwinner, so the changes make sense for those people,” she said.

Same sex partners are also included in the proposed rules, which will not come into effect until April 2009 at the earliest.