SOAS University of London

Human Resources

Paternity Leave Policy & Procedure


  1. Introduction
  2. Eligibility
  3. Notification of Paternity Leave
  4. Ordinary Paternity Leave
  5. Additional Paternity Leave
  6. Contact during Additional Paternity Leave
  7. Returning to Work after Additional Paternity Leave
  8. Definitions
  9. Equality and Diversity
  10. Approval


  1. Introduction

1.1 The School recognises an employee’s responsibility towards their newly born or adopted child/children. This policy sets out the paternity provisions and conditions for employees whose partner is pregnant and has an expected week of birth beginning on or after 3 April 2011, or has been notified of a match for adoption on or after 3 April 2011.

1.2 The School’s Paternity Leave Policy aims to inform employees of their entitlement to take paternity leave where the purpose of the absence is to care for a newly born or adopted child or to support the child’s mother or adopting parent.

  1. Eligibility

2.1 This policy applies to all employees who meet the qualifying conditions listed below:

  • have been continuously employed by the School for at least 26 weeks, ending with the 15th week before the expected week of the child’s birth (EWC), or ending with the week in which he or she was matched for adoption; and
  • have, or expect to have, responsibility for the upbringing of the child, and be making the request in order to help care for the child or support the child’s mother.

2.2 All employees who meet the criteria above are entitled to payment at their normal salary rate during their Ordinary Paternity Leave period, providing they have complied with this policy and procedure.

2.3 All employees applying for Additional Paternity Leave will be entitled to any outstanding statutory maternity/adoption leave and pay that their partner would have been eligible to receive if s/he had not returned to work, provided they meet the following additional criteria:

  • s/he must remain in continuous employment until the week before the first week of Additional Paternity Leave; and
  • the mother of the child must be entitled to one or more of the following: maternity leave, statutory maternity pay, or maternity allowance; in the case of adoption, the primary adopter must be entitled to one or both of adoption leave or statutory adoption pay; and
  • the mother or primary adopter must have returned to work and forfeited a portion of her/his maternity or adoption leave and or pay. 
  1. Notification of Paternity Leave

3.1 Notification of Ordinary Paternity Leave (OPL)

3.1.1 Employees are required to notify the School of their intention to take OPL, by the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth, or no later than 7 days after receiving notification of a match for adoption, unless this is not reasonably practicable.

3.1.2 Employees are required to complete and return the OPL Notification form ( Ordinary Paternity Leave (Birth) - PL1 Form (msword; 33kb)   or Ordinary Paternity Leave (Adoption)- PL2 Form (msword; 34kb)  , as appropriate), and the appropriate HMRC form (either SC3 - births, SC4 - UK adoptions, or SC5 - overseas adoptions). The Notification form requires the following information:

  • the week in which the baby is due to be born, or the week the employee was notified of having been matched with the child and the week the child is expected to be placed with the employee for adoption;
  • the date on which the employee intends to begin their absence;
  • whether the employee intends to take one or two weeks’ OPL. 

3.1.3 If the employee notifies the School that they wish to take OPL from the birth or placement of the child, they will be able to do so whether or not the child is born or placed on the expected date.

3.1.4 The employee may change their mind about when they would like to start their OPL, provided that they give the School written reasonable notice, which will normally be 28 days.

3.2 Notification of Additional Paternity Leave (APL)

3.2.1 Employees are required to provide the School with at least eight weeks’ notice of their intention to take APL.

3.2.2 Employees are required to complete and return an APL Notification form (PL3) and the appropriate HMRC form (either SC7 - births, SC8 - UK adoptions, or SC9 - overseas adoptions). Both parents must complete and sign the SC7, SC8 or SC9 form, which will provide details of the mother’s or child’s primary adopter’s maternity or adoption leave and pay period and return to work date. The Notification form includes the following information:

  • the child’s expected week of birth or the week the employee was notified of having been matched with the child;
  • the child’s actual date of birth or placement;
  • the date on which the employee intends to begin their absence;
  • the duration of absence and the date on which the employee intends to return to work. 

3.2.3 A copy of the birth certificate, or documentation from the adoption agency confirming the placement of the child, should also be submitted at the time of requesting APL.

3.2.3 The employee may change their mind about when they would like to start their APL or when they wish to return to work, provided that they give the School six weeks’ written notice.

  1. Ordinary Paternity Leave

4.1 Eligible employees are entitled to up to two weeks’ OPL, which can only be taken in a single block of either one or two weeks which must finish within 56 days of the birth, or adoption, of the child.

4.2 OPL can commence on any day of the week, starting either from the date the child is born or placed for adoption or from a chosen number of days or weeks after that date, but it cannot be taken before the baby’s birth or the child’s placement.

4.3 Only one period of OPL per pregnancy or adoption is permitted, irrespective of whether more than one child is born or adopted at the same time.

4.4 In the unfortunate circumstances of the pregnancy ending in stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy or the loss of a baby born alive at any point in the pregnancy, the eligible employee will still be entitled to paid OPL.

  1. Additional Paternity Leave

5.1 APL allows eligible employees to take part of the maternity or adoption leave of their partner so as to allow the mother or child’s adopter to return to work. Employees may take up to 26 weeks’ APL within the first year of their child’s life provided that their partner has returned to work before using their full entitlement to maternity or adoption leave.

5.2 The earliest APL can commence is 20 weeks after the date on which the child is born, or 20 weeks after the date that the adoption placement commences, and it must end no later than 12 months after that date.

5.3 A minimum of two weeks and a maximum of 26 weeks' APL can be taken, and this must only be taken in one block of complete weeks.

5.4 During the period of APL, the employee’s contract of employment continues to be in force and he/she is entitled to receive all his/her contractual benefits, except for salary, and annual leave will continue to accrue.

5.5 Employees are encouraged to take any outstanding annual leave due to them before the commencement of their APL.

5.6 Eligible employees are entitled to receive any statutory pay outstanding from their partner's 39 week Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), Maternity Allowance or Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) period.

5.7 This Additional Statutory Paternity Pay (ASPP) is payable for up to 19 weeks, where the mother or primary adopter has returned to work and stopped claiming any relevant pay, with at least two weeks of unexpired statutory pay period remaining e.g. A returns to work 7 weeks before their statutory pay period ends and therefore B (A’s partner) is entitled to receive 7 weeks ASPP.

5.8 All APL taken after the end of the SMP, Maternity Allowance or SAP period is unpaid.

5.9 Members of USS and SAUL Occupational Pension Schemes will accrue pensionable service as normal during any period of paid paternity leave and pension contributions will continue to be deducted from salary, with contributions based on the amount of paternity pay received.

5.10 The School will continue to make its usual contributions whilst the employee is on paid paternity leave based on the amount of pay that they would normally receive.

5.11 The employee may choose to make up any contributions missed as a result of unpaid paternity leave, and must contact the School’s Payroll & Pensions Department should they wish to do so.

  1. Contact during Additional Paternity Leave

6.1 The School reserves the right to maintain reasonable contact with the employee from time to time during his/her additional paternity leave. This may be to discuss the employee's plans for return to work, to discuss any special arrangements to be made or training to be given to facilitate his/her return to work or to update him/her on changes at work affecting his/her work area.

6.2 Employees and their line managers / Heads of Department can agree to up to 10 ‘Keeping in Touch’ (KIT) days during a period of additional paternity leave, without extending the paternity leave or bringing it to an end. During KIT days, an employee may attend key meetings, undertake training or keep in touch with work developments through other means.

6.3 Employees will be paid at their normal daily rate for any KIT days worked during their unpaid APL under this arrangement, in arrears.

  1. Returning to Work after Additional Paternity Leave

7.1 The employee on APL will be expected to return to work on the date of return confirmed by the School. If the employee wishes to return to work earlier than the expected return date, they must provide at least six weeks’ notice of the date of early return in writing.

7.2 If the employee decides not to return he/she must give notice of resignation as soon as possible in accordance with the terms and conditions of their contract of employment.

7.3 Employees are entitled to return to the job in which they were employed before their absence, on the same terms and conditions as if they had not been on paternity leave (except for those employed on fixed term contracts which came to an end before the date of return).

7.4 For employees on term-time contracts whose dates of return fall during a time when they are not required to be at work, the actual return date will be postponed until the start of the next term.

7.5 Employees are reminded of their right to request flexible working for child care purposes under the Flexible Working Policy, and of their right to unpaid time off under the Parental Leave Policy and the Emergency Dependants’ Leave Policy.

  1. Definitions

8.1 Partner: A partner is someone who lives with the mother of the baby (or primary adopter) in an enduring family relationship, but is not immediately related. A partner may include either a male or female partner in a same sex couple.

8.2 EDC: Expected Date of Childbirth.

8.3 OPL: Ordinary Paternity Leave. A block of one or two weeks which must be taken after the birth of the child, or date the child is placed for adoption, and no later than 56 days after the birth or placement.

8.4 APL: Additional Paternity Leave. A block of up to 26 weeks leave, taken within the first year of the birth or placement of your child, provided the mother or primary adopter has returned to work after maternity/adoption leave and has not used their full entitlement.

8.5 SMP/SAP: Statutory Maternity Pay / Statutory Adoption Pay paid to the child’s mother or primary adopter according to the statutory scheme. If the child’s mother or primary adopter returns to work without using all their entitlement, their partner may be entitled to receive a portion of this.

8.6 Childbirth: The birth of a live child or the birth of a stillborn child after the 24th week of pregnancy. There is no distinction between live and still births after this date in the granting of ordinary paternity leave.

8.7 HMRC: Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

  1. Equality and Diversity

9.1 The procedures outlined here should be carried out with due regard to any diversity issues which may have affected either the original situation or the current process.  The School’s Diversity Adviser and diversity specialists within the Human Resources Directorate are available to support colleagues in this area.

9.2 Where a diversity issue (e.g. a disability including chronic physical or mental health conditions) has been disclosed to the School, whether prior to the situation which triggered this process or during the process, the line manager co-ordinating the process is responsible for checking with the employee to determine their needs and for making the appropriate arrangements.

9.3 Employees who have not previously disclosed a diversity issue which may be relevant to this process are encouraged to do so, as early as possible, so that it can be taken into account.

  1. Approval

10.1 This policy and procedure was agreed with the School recognised trade unions, UCU and UNISON, on 14 September 2011.

10.2 This policy and procedure was approved by Executive Board on 26 September 2011.