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Changes to statutory Paternity Leave come into force

The Government announced in the summer of 2023 it’s proposal to make changes to paternity leave rights. The Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 have now come into force, bringing with them changes which see fathers or partners of children born or adopted after 6th April 2024 being able to take their paternity leave entitlement in 2 blocks of one week within the first year of the birth or adoption of their child.


What do the Paternity Leave changes mean?


These new Paternity Leave Regulations include the following changes:

  • Employees can now take their 2-week paternity leave entitlement as two separate blocks of one week at any point in the first year of the child’s birth or adoption. This has changed from having to take 2 consecutive weeks or just 1 week in total.
  • Employees can now take paternity leave at any time in the first year of birth or adoption – a change from having to take leave within 8 weeks of the birth or adoption of their child.
  • Employees will now only need to give 28 days’ notice of their intention to take paternity leave. This has reduced from a required notice period of 15 weeks before the Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC) or placement for adoption.

The new Regulations apply in all cases where the EWC or adoption placement is on or after 6th April 2024.


Do these changes go far enough?


Campaign group “Pregnant then Screwed” commented that “the legislative changes face heavy criticism for not addressing the overall low rate of statutory paternity pay or increasing the overall length of time Dads and partners can spend with their new arrival.” They are calling for Paternity Leave to be increased to 6 weeks, with pay during that time being increased to 90% of salary.

Their recent research found that “just 3 in 5 fathers (63.7%) took two weeks or less paternity leave following the birth of their most recent child. When looking at the use of enhanced paternity leave through employer benefit schemes, less than a third (29%) of fathers could access enhanced paternity pay around the birth of their most recent child. Dropping to 1 in 5 for fathers in households with household income under £60,000.

The UK has the least generous paternity leave entitlement in Europe. Currently, the statutory entitlement to paternity leave is two weeks, and the weekly rate for paternity pay is £184.03 a week or 90% of your salary (whichever is lower).

The importance of paternity leave for families was summed up by Joeli Brearley, CEO and Founder of Pregnant Then Screwed, when she said: “Paternity leave isn’t a break from work, it isn’t a holiday – it is crucial bonding time”.

The changes to paternity leave are definitely a step in the right direction.


What other legislation changes have happened for families?

Other legislation affecting families has also come into force in April 2024 including the introduction of statutory Carers Leave and the right to request flexible working from day one.


You may also be interested in reading this article by Katie Ash, Paternity Leave - what is it and why does it matter?

Read about other recent changes to Employment regulations in our article Navigating the recent changes in UK Employment Laws

If you would like to speak to a legal expert about these legislation changes or another employment law matter,  you can contact our expert team at

Katie Ash
  • Director
  • Solicitor
  • Head of Employment Law

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