Key Updates on Enhanced Paternity Leave and Pay Benefits for Your Staff

The UK government has implemented some pretty big changes to Paternity Leave and Pay, aiming to make it more accessible and flexible for fathers and partners. These updates, which came into effect on the 6th of April 2024, promise greater adaptability, enabling new fathers and partners to better support their families during the critical early stages of a child’s life.  

To help business owners make sure that they’re complying with these new changes, we’ve put together this guide with everything you need to know. 

What are the changes? 

So, first things first, the new changes are: 

Flexible leave in non-consecutive blocks 

One of the most significant changes is the ability for fathers and partners to take their paternity leave in non-consecutive blocks. Under the current system, paternity leave can only be taken in a single block of either one or two weeks, but from the 6th of April, this restriction was lifted. It allows fathers and partners to split their two weeks of leave into separate blocks. This flexibility can be especially beneficial for families needing support at different times during the child’s first year. 

Leave can be taken anytime in the first year 

Another notable change is the extension of the period within which paternity leave can be taken. Before, paternity leave had to be taken within 56 days of the child’s birth. The new regulations allow fathers and partners to take their leave and pay at any point within the first year after the birth or adoption of their child. This adjustment provides families with the flexibility to choose a time that best suits their needs. 

Shorter notice period 

The notice period for taking paternity leave has also been shortened. Previously, employees had to provide their employers with notice at least 15 weeks before the expected week of childbirth. Under the new rules, fathers and partners only need to give four weeks’ notice before each period of leave. This reduced notice period allows for better accommodation of the changing needs of the family, providing more responsive support when it is most needed. 

Reclaiming statutory payments 

As of 6th April, HMRC’s Basic PAYE Tool (BPT) now reflects the new paternity leave and pay terms. However, there may be instances where babies were born early, requiring statutory payments before the system update. 

Advance payment for small to medium businesses 

Small to medium-sized businesses can claim advance payment for SPP costs. If your business paid £45,000 or less in Class 1 National Insurance in the last complete tax year, you could apply for advance payments from HMRC if you cannot afford to make the statutory payments. Applications can be submitted up to four weeks before the first payment is needed. 

Practical steps for employers 

To smoothly transition into the new system, employers should: 

Identify eligible employees: Review and identify employees who have given or will give notice of their intent to claim Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave for babies expected after 6th April 2024. 

Understand the transitional rules: Familiarise themselves with the transitional guidance for reclaiming statutory payments for early births. 

Prepare payroll systems: Ensure that payroll systems and software are updated in line with the new regulations. 

Communicate with employees: Inform employees about the upcoming changes and how it might affect their paternity leave plans. Make sure to provide guidance on the shortened notice periods and the flexibility of taking non-consecutive leave. 

Final thoughts 

It’s really important for employers to make sure that they’re up to date with these changes your systems and processes can handle the new regulations. These updates are designed to benefit both families and workplaces, creating a more supportive environment for everyone. 


If you have questions about any aspect of your finances, please get in touch with the Trinity team. We’d love to help!   

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