The Paternity Leave and Benefits Act 2016 took effect from September this year. The historic act has been highly publicised for ensuring that male employees are now granted two weeks’ paternity leave at any stage during the first six months following birth or adoption of a child. However, this legislation is inaccurately named as it does not only affect male employees. Either a male or female employee who is named the other “relevant parent” by the (adoptive or biological) parent is entitled to this benefit.
For example, if two women in a same-sex relationship adopt a child together, one woman will be entitled to take adoptive leave (a similar benefit to the one granted to biological mothers under the Maternity Protection Acts) and the other woman will be entitled to ‘Paternity Leave’ under this new Paternity Leave and Benefit Act as long as she is named the other relevant parent by the adoptive mother.
In a similar situation, the biological mother’s female partner can also be named the other relevant parent by said mother and receive this benefit (so long as the biological father is completely out of the picture).
In the case of two men in a same-sex relationship adopting a child together, one of the fathers is entitled to take adoptive leave whilst the other is entitled to take the paternity leave.
In case you think we’re forgetting about you heterosexual biological fathers out there, the Act also applies to you, but then, that was probably obvious from the title of the Act and the publicity surrounding its introduction!
New Talbot Pierce clients, or clients who have recently had their Contracts of Employment updated by us, will have a Paternity Leave clause included. However, if you have not had your Contracts updated for quite some time, we would encourage you to get in touch with us to ensure that your documentation is up-to-date with the most recent legislative requirements.
Contact us on Info@TalbotPierce.com or (01) 902 00 31 for advice on how this legislation impacts on your business’ HR policies, practices & procedures.