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Paternity Leave & Pay Policy

1. Policy Statement / Purpose

1.1    This document provides support to both employees and managers in understanding Durham University’s Paternity Leave arrangements.

1.2    Paternity leave provides up to two weeks of leave when a member of staffs’ partner is having a baby or adopting a child, potentially with some statutory and / or occupational entitlement to pay. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

3. Responsibilities

3.1    Line managers are responsible for supporting staff before, during and following paternity leave.

Line managers should read and understand this policy and the associated materials on the hub of resources, contacting their HR Representative should they have any questions or wish to discuss or clarify any details.  Many of the FAQs are designed for staff but are also highly applicable to, and provide further details of the responsibilities of, line managers.

Line managers should remember to establish if the member of staff wishes to keep knowledge of their intention to take paternity leave restricted only to those who need to know at the early stages.  Depending on when they are notified, the staff member may not have made any firm decisions about the practicalities of the paternity leave.

3.2    Staff will need to comply with this policy and FAQs when applicable, including notification periods.  

3.3    The Human Resources Department will work with Heads of Departments and Collages to ensure compliance with the application of University Policy in addition to providing advice to staff and managers.

3.4    The People & Payroll team will ensure relevant payroll arrangements are in place for staff on paternity leave.

4. Policy, Procedures and Enforcement


4.1    In order to qualify for paternity leave a staff member must:
•    Have or expect to have responsibility for the child’s upbringing.
•    Be the biological father of the child, the mother’s husband or partner OR be adopting a child with their partner or be the partner of someone adopting a child on their own.
•    Have worked continuously for the University leading into the 15th week before the baby is due or by the end of the week in which an adopter is notified of having been matched with a child.  
•    Be taking the time off to support the mother / adopter or care for the new baby / child.  

4.2    A partner, in this case, is someone who is married to or living with the mother of the baby or adopter in an enduring family relationship but is not an immediate relative.  This may include a female or male partner in a same sex couple.  


4.3    If the member of staff has 26 weeks or more service at the qualifying week (15 weeks before the expected week of childbirth), they will be entitled to up to two weeks leave. 

For adoption, the qualifying week is the ‘matching week’ i.e.:

•    The end of the week they are matched with the child (UK adoptions).
•    The date the child enters the UK (overseas adoption).  

4.4    Only one period of leave is available irrespective of whether more than one child is born as the result of the same pregnancy or adopted.

4.5    Paternity leave must be taken in a single block of one week or two weeks; it cannot be taken as odd days or separate weeks.  

4.6    The earliest paternity leave can commence is the birth of the child or the date of placement for adoption (the date the child arrives in the UK for overseas adoptions) and can commence on any day of the week.

4.7    Leave must be taken either:
•    Within 56 days of the actual date of birth of the child or for adoption the date of placement or the child’s arrival in the UK (overseas adoption).
•    If the child is born earlier than expected, between the birth and 56 days from the first day of the expected week of childbirth.  

4.8    In order to qualify for Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) you must have average weekly earnings at or above the Lower Earnings Limit for National Insurance at the qualifying week. The lower earnings limit can be found on the government site

4.9    If a member of staff has been continuously employed by the University for a minimum of 12 months before the expected week of childbirth / time of the placement they can receive:
•    One week of paternity leave on full pay (including statutory paternity pay);
•    One week of statutory paternity pay or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.

4.10    If a member of staff has been continuously employed by the University for a minimum of six months before the expected week of childbirth / the end of the week in which the adopter is notified of having been matched with the child they can receive:
•    Two weeks of statutory paternity pay or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.

4.11 You are entitled to 1 week of University Paternity Pay from your first day of employment which includes any Statutory Pay you may be entitled to.

4.12    If a member of staff has less than 26 weeks service at the qualifying week or earns on average less that the lower earnings limit, they should seek advice from their local Social Security or Jobcentre Plus office, as they may be eligible for other allowances.  


4.13    Please see the FAQs for notification requirements. 

4.14   If you notify the University that you wish to take paternity leave from the birth of your child you will be able to do so whether or not your child is born on the expected date. 

4.14    If you have given a fixed start date and wish to change the date of your paternity leave you must give 28 days’ notice and fill in a new Paternity Certificate.  

Rates and thresholds for employers 2022 to 2023 - GOV.UK
PAYE tax rates and thresholds 2022 to 2023; Employee personal allowance: £242 per week £1,048 per month £12,570 per year: Scottish starter tax rate

5. Equality and Diversity

A full Equality Impact Analysis has been conducted on this policy and no negative impact has been identified. As part of the process of reviewing all of the family friendly policies, the use of gender neutral language and greater clarity around eligibility promotes EDI across a range of characteristics protected under the Equality Act

6.1 Current rates of statutory pay can be found at

6.2 More information on Paternity Leave & Pay and other Family Friendly polices can be found on the Hub of Resource

7. Definitions


EWC Expected Week of Childbirth
QW Qualifying week (15th week before EWC)
Week A normal working week
SPP Statutory Paternity Pay
DCS Departments, Colleges and Sections


8. Version Control / Revision History:

Current Status
Version: 2.0
Approval date: April 2022
Approved by: HR SMT 
Contact for further information: HR Policy and Research Team