On 11 January 2023, the government published draft regulations to make changes to paternity leave legislation which will provide fathers and partners with greater flexibility when taking their paternity leave entitlement. 

The Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 are due to come into force on 8 March 2024 and will apply only to children whose expected week of birth or expected date of placement for adoption is on or after 6 April 2024.

The Regulations will:

  • Allow fathers and partners to choose to divide their statutory paternity leave into either two one-week blocks or a single period of either one week or two weeks.  Currently leave can only be taken in one block, meaning that if the father decides to take just one week of leave, then they currently lose the right to take the second week at a later date.
  • Extend the period during which fathers and partners can take the leave to any time during the first year after the birth or adoption of a child, rather than only within the first 56 days.
  • Fathers and partners must still give their employer a notice of their entitlement to take leave and a declaration that they satisfy the conditions for taking leave on or before the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth.  However, the new regulations shorten the period of notice to be given of the dates on which the father or partner would like to take their leave to 28 days’ notice.
  • A father or partner who has given an initial notice may also vary any leave dates if they give 28 days’ notice of the variation. 

Ahead of the Regulations coming into force, employers will need to review and update any paternity or family leave policies to reflect the new rules and mangers should be made aware that they may receive requests from employees to take paternity leave at shorter notice.