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In brief

In 2019, the government consulted on various measures to support families. It has now responded to chapter one of that consultation – Parental leave and pay: Supporting parents and achieving equality – and announced changes to the statutory paternity leave regime to give fathers and partners more choice and flexibility around how and when they take their entitlement.  

In more detail

Proposed changes

The government has announced the following changes to statutory paternity leave:

  • Choice to take statutory paternity leave in either one block of two weeks or two separate blocks of one week’s leave. The current overall entitlement of two weeks’ leave is unchanged.
  • Choice to take the leave at any time in the first year of birth/placement for adoption. The current regime requires the individual to take the leave within the first eight weeks after birth / placement for adoption.
  • Change to the notice requirements for taking the leave. The government is proposing to allow individuals to give their notice of entitlement 15 weeks before birth and give 28 days’ notice before the dates that they intend to take each period of leave (and pay, where they qualify). Currently individuals are required to notify their employer of their leave dates 15 weeks before the expected week of childbirth.

These changes will be implemented through secondary legislation which will be introduced in due course. There are no other changes to the statutory paternity leave and pay regime.

The government also noted that many respondents considered that the current statutory shared parental leave and pay regime is very complex. Although the government is not proposing to make any changes to this regime, it has developed an online tool to make it easier for employed parents to access the scheme and help employers administer the scheme. 

For advice or to discuss what this means for you and your business, please contact your usual Baker McKenzie .


Monica Kurnatowksa is a partner in the Firm’s London office. She is recognised by The Legal 500 and Chambers UK as a leading individual. Chambers say she has “impressive experience of handling complex employment disputes and advisory matters for major clients. She is known for her expertise in trade union matters.” "The breadth of her experience is phenomenal." "She is an outstanding lawyer who provides a first-class service while juggling the intense demands of running high-profile matters on behalf of her clients. She is unflappable, courteous and extremely knowledgeable”. Monica is a member of the Consultation Board of PLC Employment On-line and is a regular speaker at internal and external seminars and workshops.


Paul Harrison practices mainly in the area of employment law and serves as counsel in Baker McKenzie's Employment Group in London. Paul is a regular speaker at conferences and seminars, and has contributed articles on myriad employment issues to various legal and personnel publications.


Mandy Li is a Knowledge Lawyer in Baker McKenzie London office.

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