Paternity Leave FAQs
The following information summarises the key points in relation to Paternity Leave at Queen’s University. These should be read in conjunction with the Paternity Leave Policy which can be accessed here.
What is paternity leave used for?
Paternity 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?
All eligible employees are entitled to Queen’s enhanced paternity leave and pay provision provided that they follow the appropriate notification procedure.
Eligible employees must have:
- worked continuously for employer for 26 weeks leading into the 15th week before the child is due to be born.
- has or is expected to have responsibility for the child’s upbringing;
- is the biological father of the child or the mother’s husband or partner;
- is the adopter’s spouse or partner.
If an employee is not eligible, they could consider using annual leave or parental leave. In the event that an employee is not eligible, signpost to salaries who will issue an SPP1 form.
What is the paternity leave entitlement?
Queen’s offers enhanced paternity leave that goes beyond statutory paternity 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 same pregnancy?
Only one period of paid paternity 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 commencement of their paternity leave?
The member of staff may change his mind about the date on which he wants his ordinary paternity leave to start by informing the Diversity and Inclusion Unit and his Head of School/Department/Unit, in writing. The change of date to the commencement of his paternity leave must be recorded on a Paternity 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 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 leave begin and how long does it last?
- Paternity 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 leave, he must only take 5 days as an individual week.
- The member of staff must take the enhanced 5 days paternity 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 leave?
A member of staff accrues contractual annual leave entitlement while on ordinary paternity leave and during additional paternity leave. A member of staff is expected, where possible, to take his full annual leave entitlement in a particular leave year. Where this not possible due to paternity leave arrangements, or exceptional circumstances, he 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 leave?
Pensionable service will continue to accrue as normal as long as the member of staff is receiving salary or statutory paternity pay. A member of staff who takes unpaid additional paternity leave will not normally be able to make pension contributions for the period of unpaid leave.
What is the process of applying for paternity leave?
The member of staff must inform the Diversity and Inclusion Unit and his Head of School / Department / Unit of his intention to take paternity 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 he wants his paternity leave to start;
- and how he wishes to take the leave.
Where a member of staff is taking paternity leave as a result of adopting a child he must inform the Diversity and Inclusion Unit and his 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 he wishes the paternity leave to start;
- and how he wishes to take the leave.
An application form containing the above information should be completed and returned to the Diversity and Inclusion Unit. An application form for paternity leave can be obtained from the Diversity and Inclusion Unit’s website. Application forms can be accessed here.