Paid paternity leave is available to husbands and partners of new mothers.
The law refers to 'paternity' leave and pay, but same sex partners are
An employee has the right to paternity leave on the birth of a child
provided that they meet all of the following criteria:
• they have been continuously employed by the Civil Service for
26 weeks prior to the 15th week before the Expected Week of
Childbirth (EWC) and will continue to work for the OFT up to
the date of birth
• they have or expect to have responsibility for the child's
• They are the biological father of the child or the husband or
partner of the child's mother.
Paternity leave rights also apply on the adoption of a child provided that
all the following criteria are met:
• the employee has been continuously employed by the Civil
Service for 26 weeks by the week the child's adopter is notified
of being matched with a child
• the employee is not taking adoption leave
• the employee will have responsibility for the child's upbringing
• the employee is the spouse or partner of the child's adopter.
The definition of 'partner' in relation to the birth or adoption of a child is
'a person, same or different sex, who lives with the mother or adopter
(but is not a blood relative) in an enduring family relationship'.
Statutory and enhanced OFT entitlements to paternity leave
If employees meet the above eligibility criteria they are entitled to two
weeks' statutory paternity leave (to be taken as either a single week or
two consecutive weeks). It is for the employee to select whichever they
As well as meeting the statutory requirements, the OFT provides its own
pay and leave arrangements if employees meet the above eligibility
criteria. The OFT hopes that most employees with the qualifying service
will take advantage of the more generous enhanced OFT paternity leave
Employees who qualify for OFT paternity leave have the right to 15 days
leave (to be taken in blocks of five working days) at or around the time of
birth/adoption of their child. For employees who work part time, or work
compressed hours, the amount of paternity leave to which they are
entitled will be pro-rated accordingly.
Duration of paternity leave
Employees can choose to start their leave at any time from the date of
birth / placement but must complete it within six months of:
• the actual date of birth of the child or placement, or
• if the child is born early, within the period from the actual date
of birth up to six months after the first day of the expected
week of birth.
Only one period of leave per pregnancy is available to the employee
regardless of whether more than one child is born as a result of the
Employees must qualify for statutory paternity leave to qualify for OFT
The OFT will pay employees Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) for the period
allowed by legislation. Current rates of SPP are available on the
Department of Work and Pensions website.
If employees do not qualify for paternity pay they should contact their
local benefit office in case alternative financial support is available.
If employees qualify for enhanced OFT paternity provisions their SPP will
be topped up by OFT pay so that they receive the equivalent of their
normal salary. If employees do not return to work after paternity leave
they will be required to repay the difference between the enhanced rate
of paternity pay that they have received and the minimum level of
paternity pay to which they would otherwise have been entitled.
If public and privilege holidays occur during paternity leave there is no
entitlement to alternative days off work.
Employees will not qualify for paternity leave and pay during periods of
unpaid absence, for example, career breaks or long term sick absence.
Returning to Work
Employees who return to work after paternity leave have a right to return
to the same job.
The OFT will consider any written applications made by employees to
vary their working pattern by working part-time or job sharing. Employees
should discuss all options with their manager and HR advisor to see
whether their wishes can be met. All requests for flexible working will be
treated as sympathetically as possible, however, the OFT is not obliged to
accommodate all requests.
OFT employees with 26 weeks' service with the OFT and who have
parental responsibilities for a child under six, or a disabled child aged
under 18, have a statutory right to apply for flexible working
arrangements under the Employment Rights Act 1996 (as amended by the
Employment Act 2002) and the OFT has a duty to consider these
See the flexible working rights policy and procedure for further guidance.
Parental leave immediately following paternity leave
Parental leave is a statutory provision and has its own right of return, see
the parental leave policy for further details.
If any employee is unhappy with any aspect of their treatment in seeking
paternity leave or whilst on paternity leave, or if any dispute arises
concerning any matter in this policy, they are entitled to bring a formal
grievance, in line with the OFT grievance procedure.
Employees will be required to inform their staff manager and HR (see form
- application for paternity leave and pay) of their intention to take
paternity leave by the end of the 15th week before the baby is expected
or within seven days of being notified by their adoption agency that they
have been matched with a child for adoption, unless this is not reasonably
Employees will need to complete the application for paternity leave and
pay and will be required to confirm:
• the date the baby is due or the expected week of placement
• when they want their paternity leave to start
• the length of paternity leave to be taken.
A copy of their partner's form MATB1 (the maternity certificate available
from their doctor or midwife after the 26th week of pregnancy) should be
attached to the application form, if this is available. Otherwise, it should
be supplied before the period of paternity leave commences.
Both employees and staff managers should ensure that the application
form is returned to HR at least 28 days in advance of the date the
paternity leave is due to commence, or as soon as is reasonable
HR will respond to the notification within 15 working days. Within that
response they will clarify the return to work date assuming that the full
leave entitlement is taken.
Employees can change their mind about the date on which they want
their leave to start providing they give 28 days advance notice of the new
date (unless this is not reasonably practicable). HR will then write again to
the employee to confirm what the amended return date is.