Paternity/Partner Leave FAQs
The following information summarises the key points in relation to Paternity/Partner Leave at Queen’s University. These should be read in conjunction with the Paternity/Partner Leave Policy.
WHAT IS PATERNITY/PARTNER LEAVE USED FOR?
Paternity/Partner leave gives eligible members of staff, following the birth of a child or the matching and placement of a child for adoption, the statutory right to leave to care for the child or support the mother.
- WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR PATERNITY/PARTNER LEAVE?
To qualify for paternity/partner leave, you must be an employee and have been working for the University continually for at least 26 weeks by:
- the end of the 15th week before the child is due; or
- the end of the week you are notified you are matched with your child, or the date the child enters the UK for the purpose of adoption (adoption from overseas).
To be eligible for Paternity/Partner Leave - you must also be one of the following:
- the child's biological father
- mother or adopter's husband or partner (including same-sex)
- intended parent of a baby from a surrogacy.
- IS IT POSSIBLE FOR A WOMAN TO TAKE PATERNITY/PARTNER LEAVE?
Yes, the right to statutory paternity/partner leave is available to the civil partner of the biological mother of a child. It is also available to the partner of the biological mother of a child, where "partner" means a person of either sex who lives with the mother or adopter in an enduring family relationship but is not an immediate relative (i.e. is not the child’s mother or adopter’s: parent, grandparent, sibling, uncle or aunt).
The term ‘mother’ is defined in relation to paternity/partner leave as the mother who gave birth to the child i.e. the biological mother. However, it is recognised that in some female same sex relationships the term ‘mother’ is used for both parents.
Paternity/Partner leave is also available to the spouse, civil partner or partner of either sex of a child’s adopter, or to one of a couple who jointly adopt a child or for University staff who enter into a legal surrogacy arrangement.
- WHAT IS PATERNITY/PARTNER LEAVE ENTITLEMENT?
Queen’s offers enhanced paternity/partner leave that goes beyond statutory paternity /partner leave and pay. Eligible employees are entitled to 3 weeks full pay. 2 of the 3 weeks leave to be taken in a block within 56 days of the birth of the child. The other week can be taken within 4 months of the birth, in a block or as individual days.
- WHAT IF A PERSON HAS MORE THAN ONE CHILD AS A RESULT OF THE PREGNANCY?
Only one period of paid paternity/partner leave is available regardless of whether more than one child is born as the result of the same pregnancy or whether more than one child is placed for adoption in the same placement.
CAN SOMEONE CHANGE THE DATE OF THE COMMENCMENT OF THEIR PATERNITY/PARTNER LEAVE?
The member of staff may change their mind about the date on which they want their ordinary paternity leave to start by informing the Diversity and Inclusion Unit and their Head of School/Department/Unit, in writing. The change of date to the commencement of the paternity/partner leave must be recorded on a Paternity/Partner Leave Form and given at least 28 days in advance (unless this is not reasonably practicable to do so).
- WHAT HAPPENS IN CASES OF STILLBIRTH OR IF SOMEONE LOSES THEIR BABY?
Paternity/Partner leave and pay are still applicable if the baby is stillborn from 24 weeks of pregnancy or born alive at any point during the pregnancy.
- WHEN DOES PATERNITY/PARTNER LEAVE BEGIN AND WHEN DOES IT END?
Paternity/partner leave can begin from the date of the child’s birth or in the case of a child placed for adoption, the date of the child’s placement.
The member of staff must take the 10 days statutory paternity leave as two consecutive weeks within 56 calendar days of the actual date of birth or date of placement of the child or if the child is born early, within the period from the actual date of birth up to 56 calendar days after the expected date of birth.
If a member of staff wishes to take less than 10 days statutory paternity/partner leave, they must only take 5 days as an individual week.
The member of staff must take the enhanced 5 days paternity/partner leave within 4 months of the actual date of birth or date of placement of the child; and may take these 5 days either as an individual week or in a manner that suits the staff member in consultation with the Head of School/Department/Unit.
- DOES ANNUAL LEAVE ACCRUE WHILST ON PATERNITY/PARTNER LEAVE?
A member of staff accrues contractual annual leave entitlement while on ordinary paternity/partner leave and during additional paternity/partner leave. A member of staff is expected, where possible, to take their full annual leave entitlement in a particular leave year. Where this not possible due to paternity/partner leave arrangements, or exceptional circumstances, they will be able to carry over up to the full complement of leave (42 days) to the next leave year, the scheduling of which must be taken by agreement with the Head of School/Department/Unit.
- ARE PENSION CONTRIBUTIONS PAID DURING PATERNITY/PARTNER LEAVE?
Pensionable service will continue to accrue as normal as long as the member of staff is receiving salary or statutory paternity/partner pay. A member of staff who takes unpaid additional paternity/partner leave will not normally be able to make pension contributions for the period of unpaid leave.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR APPLYING FOR PATERNITY/PARTNER LEAVE?
The member of staff must inform the Diversity and Inclusion Unit and their Head of School/Department/Unit of their intention to take paternity/partner leave no later than the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (unless this is not reasonably practical) and provide the following information, in writing:
- the week the child is expected to be born;
- when they want their paternity/partner leave to start;
- and how they wish to take the leave.
Where a member of staff is taking paternity/partner leave as a result of adopting a child they must inform the Diversity and Inclusion Unit and their Head of School/Department/Unit of the intention within seven days of being notified by the adoption agency that they have been matched with a child for adoption (unless this is not reasonably practical) and provide the following information, in writing:
- the expected date that the child will be placed;
- when they wish the paternity/partner leave to start;
- and how they wishes to take the leave.
A paternity/partner leave application form containing the above information should be completed and returned to the Diversity and Inclusion Unit. An application form for paternity / partner leave can be obtained from the Work Life Balance Policies Webpage.
- DOES ANNUAL LEAVE ACCRUE WHILST ON PATERNITY/PARTNER LEAVE?