Upcoming changes to Paternity Leave and Pay

HM Government is making changes to the way Paternity Leave and Pay can be claimed and taken, which will make it more flexible for fathers and partners to access. These changes will come into effect for fathers and partners from 6 April 2024 however, employees can start informing their employers from the 8 March 2024 of the dates they are going to take for their child born on or after 6 April 2024.

These changes will allow fathers and partners to take their leave in non-consecutive blocks. Currently, only one block of leave can be taken, which can be either one or two weeks. The changes will remove this barrier by enabling fathers to take two non-consecutive weeks of leave. It will also allow fathers and partners to take their leave and pay at any point in the first year after the birth or adoption of their child. This gives fathers and partners more flexibility to take their Paternity Leave at a time that works for their family.  

This will shorten the notice period that fathers and partners are required to give their employers for each period of leave. The new measure will require an employee to give only four weeks’ notice prior to each period of leave. This means that they can decide when to take their leave at shorter notice to accommodate the changing needs of their families.

Guidance for employers on how to reclaim statutory payments if an employee takes Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave early, before 6 April, due to early or premature birth

Fathers and partners will be eligible to claim Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave under the new rules if their baby’s expected date of birth is after 6 April 2024. They will also be able to claim their Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave under the new rules if the child is born early and before this date. Fathers or partners can begin taking Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave as soon as their baby is born. This means that fathers and partners will be able to take two non-consecutive weeks of leave before 6 April for babies before who were expected after 7 April.

Transition period before PAYE software is updated

HMRC’s Basic PAYE Tool (BPT) will be updated with the new Paternity Pay and Leave terms by 6 April 2024. Employers of fathers or partners whose babies are born early may choose to take Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave before this date and before the PAYE software has been updated. This means some employers may need to claim repayment for Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) paid under the new rules, but before the BPT has been updated.

What this means for employers

Employers should identify employees who have given or will give notice of their intent to claim Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave, and whose babies have an expected week of birth after 6 April 2024. If no employees meet those conditions by that date, you will not need to consider following a transitional process.

Full details can be found on the Government website. Click https://rb.gy/lhw5m8 for more information and guidance. 121 HR Solutions will update all client Employee Handbooks with any changes required to be made following this change. For assistance contact enquiries@121hrsolutions.co.uk.

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