The Paternity Leave and Benefits Act 2016 provides fathers with 2 weeks of paternity leave and 2 weeks of paternity benefit, for babies born on or after 1 September 2016. This is a significant piece of legislation which recognises the key role that fathers play in the life of newborn babies and young children.
Paternity benefit is governed by the provisions of the Paternity Leave and Benefit Act 2016. Paternity benefit is a payment for employed and self-employed people who are on paternity leave and covered by social insurance. Paternity leave is paid for two weeks and is available for any child born or adopted after 1 September 2016. Paternity leave can start at any time within the first 6 months following the birth or adoption placement. The intention to take paternity leave should be notified to the employer as soon as reasonably practicable but not later than 4 weeks before the expected day of placement in respect of an adoption or, in any other case, as soon as reasonably practicable but not later than 4 weeks before the expected week of confinement of the expectant mother concerned.
- While a parent is on a period of paternity leave an employee has their employment rights fully preserved as if they were in employment. This is provided for in sections 19-22 of the Act.
- Penalisation of any kind is prohibited during this period of leave.
From 1st September 2016, fathers are entitled to statutory paternity leave of 2 weeks together with a new Paternity Benefit. Prison Officers will receive their full normal pay (less any social welfare entitlements, where applicable), for the 2 weeks.