What are my rights to paternity leave as a teacher?


Your partner might be expecting a baby and you might be unsure of how much time you can take off from school on paternity leave. You might not know your entitlement for pay and what you school’s responsibilities are for granting paternity leave.

There are certain legal requirements which your school must adhere to, however, it would be useful to look at your employment contract to see if you are offered any extra benefits. This article outlines how much time you can expect off, how much you can expect to be paid and how to request paternity leave from your school.

Am I eligible for paternity leave and pay?

To qualify for paternity leave and pay you must be one of the following:

  • The father of the child
  • The husband or partner of the mother (or adopter)
  • The child’s adopter
  • The intended parent (if you’re having a baby through a surrogacy arrangement)

In addition, to qualify you must also:

  • Be an employee at school
  • Have worked for your school continuously for at least 26 weeks
  • Provide the correct notice period

In the unfortunate event you lose your baby, you can still get paternity leave or pay if your baby is:

  • Stillborn from 24 weeks of pregnancy
  • Born alive at any point during the pregnancy

If you are not eligible for paternity leave and pay your school must notify you within 28 days of your request. Your school must also offer an explanation why you are not eligible.

What are my employment rights for paternity leave?

You might be eligible for:

  • One or two week paid paternity leave
  • Shared parental leave

For more information on shared parental leave please see another article on Edapt.

Your employment rights are protected while on paternity leave. This includes your right to:

  • Pay rises
  • Build up (accrue) annual leave
  • Return to work

How long can I take paternity leave for?

Someone who is eligible is entitled to two weeks’ ordinary paternity leave provided that they have 26 weeks’ continuous service by the end of the 15th week before the week in which the child is expected. It should be noted you will receive the same amount of leave if your partner has twins or multiple births. You can take your leave in separate blocks of a week or two weeks together.

Leave cannot start before the birth. It must end within 52 weeks of the birth. You must give your school 28 days’ notice if you want to change your start date. You do not have to give a precise date for when you want to take, for example 28 January. Instead you can give the general time, for example, the  expected due date or 1 week after the birth.

Can I get leave for antenatal appointments?

You can take unpaid leave to accompany a pregnant woman to two antenatal appointments if you are:

  • The baby’s father
  • The expectant mother’s spouse or civil partner
  • In a long-term relationship with the expectant mother
  • The intended parent (if you’re having a baby through a surrogacy arrangement)

You can take up to six and a half hours per appointment. Your school can choose to give you longer.

How much should I get paid for paternity leave?

The statutory weekly rate of paternity pay is £184.03 (April 2024 see updates here) , or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). Tax and National Insurance will be deducted.

Your employer must confirm the start and end dates for you paternity pay when you claim it. To change the start date you must give your employer 28 days’ notice.

You could get more pay if you school has a paternity scheme, however, your school cannot offer you less than the statutory amounts.

How do I notify my school I would like to take paternity leave?

You must notify your school at least 15 weeks before the week the baby is expected. You must provide the following information:

  • The baby’s due date
  • When you want your leave to start, for example, the day of the birth or the week after the birth
  • If you want one or two weeks’ leave

Your school will most likely ask for this in writing. You can ask for paternity pay at the same time, if you use form SC3 (or your employer’s own version). The SC3 form is an official form produced by HM Revenue and Customs.

Further advice

If you think you are entitled to paternity leave and pay and your school has not granted you this, please get in contact with us.

We have also published another article which covers the topic of shared parental leave for teachers.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.