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A qualifying employee is entitled to choose to take either one week or two consecutive weeks of ordinary paternity leave.
As of 3rd April 2011, employees who qualify for ordinary paternity leave in respect of a baby due to be born on or after 3 April 2011, also qualify for a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of 26 weeks additional paternity leave. As with ordinary paternity leave, all the employee’s contractual terms and conditions are maintained throughout this period except the right to pay.
During the baby’s first year, parents will be able to share time off work. Once the child is 20 weeks but before they are one year old, qualifying employees can take additional paternity leave once the mother has returned to work.
Some employers are concerned about the changes to paternity leave and a recent poll undertaken by the British Chamber of Commerce showed over half of the employers questioned thought the changes would be detrimental to their business.
Andrea O’Hare, Head of Personnel and Employment Law at Citation plc said “The changes to Paternity leave have been carefully considered and employers should have nothing to fear about the changes. Our expert helpline advisors have been talking clients through the changes and providing support on how to deal with requests for paternity leave”
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