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Paternity scheme

Information on the paternity (including maternity/adoption/support leave) scheme


The following information contains provisions which are applicable to eligible employees who will be caring for a baby, are matched or placed for adoption of a child under the age of 18. (Including intended parents through a surrogacy agreement) or in a relationship with someone acting as a surrogate for another party.

Fathers/partners may qualify for ‘ordinary’ statutory paternity leave (2 weeks) and subject to meeting certain criteria, shared parental leave. In addition to statutory paternity leave and pay, the employee may also be eligible for ‘maternity support leave’ as part of National Joint Conditions of Service (Green Book). Maternity/adoption support leave is more generous than current statutory provisions as 5 days paid leave may be granted, subject to meeting the criteria. This scheme will incorporate any additional entitlement provided for under the National Joint Conditions of Service as well detailing the current statutory provisions for paternity leave and pay. 


This scheme applies to all Torbay Council employees, excluding Teaching and Support Staff within Torbay Schools, where a separate policy applies.

Paternity Leave

Employees may be able to qualify for both contractual and statutory paternity leave and pay depending upon whether they meet certain criteria, as follows:-


Employees who qualify for the contractual scheme provided for under NJC terms and conditions are entitled to receive 5 days paid at their usual rate of pay as the ‘nominated carer’ of an expectant mother at or around the time of birth. It should be noted that paternity leave cannot commence before the date of birth of the child. A ‘nominated carer’ is the person nominated by the mother to assist in the care of the child and to provide support to the mother at or around the time of birth.

The above contractual scheme applies to all employees, regardless of whether they work full or part-time or are ‘permanent’ or ‘temporary’.

Employees who qualify for ordinary statutory paternity leave and pay are eligible for up to 2 weeks leave, paid at the current statutory paternity pay weekly rate. In order to qualify for ordinary statutory paternity leave, the father/partner must:-

  • have 26 weeks’ service with the employer as at the end of the 15th week before the child’s expected week of birth;
  • remain in continuous employment with the employer until the date of birth or adoption placement;
  • be either the father of the child, or the spouse, partner or civil partner of the child’s mother or a partner of the main adoptive parent (adopting a child jointly with their partner) or the spouse, partner or civil partner becoming a parent via a parental order in the case of surrogacy arrangements – a partner is someone of either sex who lives with the mother in an “enduring family” but is not an immediate blood relative, i.e. parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt or uncle;
  • have, or expect to have, the main responsibility (apart from the mother) for the child’s upbringing.
  • be the spouse of, or in a civil partnership with someone acting as a surrogate for another party.

Maternity/Adoption Support Leave

In the case of ordinary maternity/adoption support leave, eligible employees are entitled to take either one week or two consecutive weeks leave.  There is no entitlement to take ‘odd days’.

Leave can start on any day of the week on or after the child’s birth/date of placement and must be taken within 56 days (8 weeks) of the actual date of the birth/placement.  If the child is born early, leave can be taken within the period starting from the actual date up to 56 days after the EWC (Expected Week of Childbirth – see Maternity Scheme).

For additional paternity leave, employees can take up to 26 weeks’ leave, depending upon how much is remaining after the mother/adopter has returned to work.  This has to be taken as one continuous period.

Type of leave Qualifying period Amount of leave
Contractual None. 1 week.
Statutory Employed by Torbay Council for at least 26 weeks into the 15th Week before the EWC (expected week of child-birth) or ending with the week in which notification of matching with the child is provided by the adoption agency.

Ordinary - 2 weeks (inclusive of the 1 week’s contractual leave).

Additional – up to 26 weeks (dependent upon mother/adopter’s remaining maternity/adoption leave entitlement).

Paternity (Maternity/Adoption Support) Pay

Type of pay Qualifying period Amount of pay
Statutory Employed by Torbay Council for at least 26 weeks into the 15th Week before the EWC/ending with the week in which notification of matching with the child is provided by the adoption agency (known as the ‘qualifying week’). There needs to be a minimum of 2 weeks of the mother/adopter’s remaining entitlement to Statutory Maternity/Adoption Pay, Maternity Allowance in order to be entitled to Additional Statutory Paternity Pay

Ordinary - 2 weeks at Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) weekly rate.

Additional – up to 26 weeks at Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) weekly rate (dependent upon mother/adopter’s entitlement to Statutory Maternity/Adoption Pay).


Contractual None. 1-week full pay (off-set against any SPP received in week 1).

A carer who is eligible for, and takes, their full entitlement to statutory and contractual leave and pay will therefore receive full pay for the first week and SPP for the second week.

To receive statutory paternity pay the employee’s average weekly earnings must be at least as much as the lower earnings limit for NI contributions, which applies at the end of their qualifying week.

If the employee leaves the Council for any reason before the baby is born or before the child is placed, they will not be entitled to support leave or pay.

Notification requirements

Requesting Paternity Leave

In order to request ordinary paternity leave, the carer, or nominated carer must provide at least 28 days’ notice, unless this is not reasonably practical. The request must be provided in writing to the line manager.

The carer must state:

  • The expected week of childbirth (EWC)/expected date of placement (EDP)
  • The length of leave to be taken.
  • The date, or period in which, leave and pay is expected to begin.
  • That they are eligible.
  • If adopting, the date they were notified as being matched with the child.

A standard letter for carers and nominated carers to complete, entitled the Maternity /Adoption Support Leave Plan, is available from MyView.

A photocopy of the original MATB1 certificate provided to the mother, or matching certificate (for adoption) should be provided.

Reasonable notice should be provided to actually take the leave, if the date is different to that originally stated in the plan.

The carer must also provide the Council with confirmation of the actual date of birth or date of placement.


Under current law, surrogate parents, are entitled to take statutory adoption and paternity leave, in line with the above sections of this policy and in line with eligibility criteria above. Surrogate parents are people becoming parents through a surrogate and via a parental order. Spouses/civil partners of the person acting as a surrogate are entitled to statutory paternity leave, in line with the above sections of this policy, in line with the eligibility criteria above. Partners who are married nor in a civil partnership with the person acting as a surrogate will be eligible for ‘maternity support leave’ as laid out in the National Joint Conditions of Service (Green Book) if they are nominated carer providing support to the surrogate mother at or around the time of birth.

They are also entitled to accompany the mother to ante-natal appointments, as detailed below. 

Antenatal care/Pre-placement meetings

Employees and agency workers who have a qualifying relationship with a pregnant woman or an expected child are entitled to take time off work to accompany that pregnant woman at up to two antenatal appointments.

Employees will have the right from day one of their employment. The right to time off is capped at a maximum of six-and-a-half hours on each occasion, which can include travelling time, waiting time and attendance.

An employee has a qualifying relationship with a pregnant woman or her expected child if he or she:

  • is the husband or civil partner of the pregnant woman;
  • lives with the pregnant woman in an enduring family relationship, but is not her parent, grandparent, sister, brother, aunt or uncle;
  • is the father of the expectant child; or
  • is an intended parent in a surrogacy situation who meets certain conditions.

The antenatal appointment must be made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, midwife or nurse.

The employee should provide reasonable notice to request time off for accompanying a pregnant woman at antenatal appointments. The employee should provide their line manager with an appointment card each time he/she requests time off work.

Time off to attend ante-natal appointments will be paid. Employees wishing to request this time-off must record this within the adjustment panel on their flexi record, where in operation.

Carers who are adopting can apply for up to 5 days paid leave for essential visits etc. near to the date of placement and for subsequent attendance at court, provided reasonable notice is given and organisational requirements are not unduly disrupted. The employee should provide their line manager with evidence of an appointment each time they request time off work.

Multiple births and adoptions

Only one period of paternity leave and pay can be taken in the case of a multiple birth (i.e. twins) or multiple adoption (i.e. where more than one child is adopted as part of the same arrangement).

Terms and Conditions whilst on Paternity/Maternity/Adoption Support Leave

During the period of ordinary and additional Paternity/Maternity/Adoption Support Leave terms and conditions of employment, apart from receipt of ‘normal’ pay, continue. This includes, for example, accrual of annual leave as well as the employer's duty of trust and confidence, and any terms which relate to notice of termination by the employer, redundancy pay, grievance and disciplinary procedures. The employee's duty of good faith is maintained, as are any terms relating to notice on termination, disclosure of confidential information, the acceptance of gifts or other benefits, and involvement in any other business.

Pay awards and other improvements to benefits continue in the normal manner as if the carer was still at work.

It is common practice for carers to request a period of annual leave immediately prior to or after a period of support leave. Any annual leave should be requested, and those requests dealt with, in accordance with normal Council procedures.

Car Allowances are not affected.

Pension Arrangements During Paternity Leave

If the employee is a member of the Local Government Pension Scheme, pension contributions will be paid and deducted from pay in the usual manner and at the same percentage rate during the period of paid paternity leave. 

Any periods of authorised unpaid leave following paternity leave, such as a period of Parental Leave, will not be treated as pensionable and will reduce the amount of pension earned during the year.  Employees can, however, choose to pay Additional Pension Contributions (APC) to buy the ‘lost’ pension.  Employees can elect to pay an APC within 30 days of returning to work and the Council will pay 2/3rds of the APC. 

If the employee elects to pay an APC after 30 days of returning to work, the Council will not be required to make a contribution and the employee will bear the full cost.  For employees who want to pay additional contributions to buy the ‘lost’ pension for this period, they should complete the LGPS Calculator below and return one copy of their completed application form to Peninsula Pensions and the other copy to:- Pensions, Torbay Council, Lower Ground Floor, Town Hall, Torquay, TQ1 3DR.  For any queries in completing the application for, please contact Pensions, Tel:  01803 207410.

LGPS contributions calculator

Special Considerations

If a child is stillborn from the start of the 25th week of pregnancy onwards, the carer would be eligible for maternity support leave and pay in the usual way. If a mother gives birth prematurely to a living child, even in cases where the baby later dies, at any point in her pregnancy, the carer will be entitled to maternity support leave and pay in the usual way.

Return to Work

The carer is entitled to return to the same job on terms and conditions of employment as if they had not been absent.  The same applies if a period of parental leave, for example, is taken at the end of the Maternity/Adoption Support Leave.  Where it is not practicable, for instance by reason of redundancy, for Torbay Council to permit the employee to return to work in his/her job, the employee shall be entitled to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy where one exists under a new contract that begins on the day immediately following the day on which the employee's previous contract came to an end. The work to be done under the new contract must be both suitable for the employee and appropriate for him/her to do in the circumstances. The provisions of the new contract relating to the capacity and place in which the employee is to be employed, and the other terms and conditions of employment, must not be substantially less favourable to the employee than if he or she had continued to be employed under his or her previous contract.

Consideration will be given to the full range of flexible working arrangements when requested by a parent of a new child, including a temporary reduction in hours.  Any adjustments should be discussed with the line manager as soon as reasonably practical and made in accordance with the Flexible Working Requests procedure. 

Unless otherwise notified, it will be assumed that the carer will return to work at the end of their support leave as stated in their leave plan.

Shared Parental Leave

Eligible parents can share maternity or adoption leave and pay under Shared Parental Leave arrangements.  Shared parental leave enables parents to commit to ending their maternity or adoption leave and pay at a future date, and to share the untaken balance of leave and pay as shared parental leave and pay with their partner, or to return to work early from maternity or adoption leave and opt in to shared parental leave and pay at a later date.

Employees can refer to the Council’s policy on shared parental leave, where they will find full details of the eligibility requirements, as well as instructions as to how the parents’ maternity or adoption leave can be curtailed.

The Shared Parental Leave Policy is available from MyView.

Policy Feedback

Should you have any comments regarding this policy, please address them to the HR Policy Feedback mailbox –

This separate maternity policy was agreed on 9 December 2010 by Torbay JCC/Single Status Group.  Previous policy changes are recorded on the former ‘Maternity, Adoption, Paternity (Maternity Support Leave) Scheme’ held by Human Resources.

History of policy changes
Date Page Details of Change Agreed by:
9.12.10 Various Separate out Maternity, Adoption and Paternity from former Maternity, Adoption and Paternity Scheme. TJCC/SSG 9.12.10
9.12.10 8 New information relating to Additional Paternity Leave Legislation change – 9.12.10
May 2014 9 Update regarding unpaid leave and pension payments Legislation change April 2014
October 2014 8 Update following introduction of new ante-natal rights. Legislation change October 2014
April 2015 Various Removal of Additional Paternity Leave, replace with reference to Shared Parental Leave. TJCC, information only – legislation changes April 2015
March 2022 Various Addition of provisions for leave for partners of women acting as surrogates for another party TJCC, information only – operational changes
June 2023 2 Wording added to ensure clarity re timing of Paternity Leave.

Policy to be reviewed in line with operational/legislation changes.