Paternity policy changes 2024 - here's everything you need to know


The UK government recently published draft regulations around changes to paternity leave policy, due to go live this week on Friday 8th March.

The main change to the policy is that it allows fathers or partners to split their statutory paternity leave into single week blocks rather than having to take it all at once, as per previous regulations.

There is also now greater flexibility around paternity allowances, meaning leave can be taken any time during the first year, as opposed to just within the first eight weeks after birth. In addition, where current legislation requires fifteen weeks notice before the birth to notify an employer before taking leave, the updated regulation has reduced each term of absence to a shorter four-week notice period.

What do these changes mean for employees?

  • A shorter notice period for paternity leave means fathers or partners can be more flexible in accommodating the changing needs of their family.
  • An opportunity to spend time bonding with their child and family over a twelve-month period, rather than just the two months after the birth or adoption.
  • Given that paternity pay is often lower than an employee's normal earnings, it is sometimes the case that the employee cannot afford to take the entire two-week paternity leave period at once. Having the flexibility to split this into two week-long periods will help alleviate some of this financial pressure, meaning the father or partner is more likely to be able to use all of their leave with fewer concerns about the financial impact.

What do these changes mean for employers?

  • Employees are now being offered shorter notice periods on paternity leave requests. For schools and trusts, the new four week notice period still leaves adequate time to arrange cover; whether in the classroom or elsewhere.
  • In reality, employees may also decide to make a decision sooner and early proactive communication around this may help to promote receiving as much notice as possible. Advance planning is advised and communicating important calendar events or projects will help to minimise disruption.
  • For schools and trusts, it is worth noting that employees may choose to take their week-long leave either side of half-term, which is something to be aware of in advance and planned for accordingly.
  • Make sure that current systems and processes are reviewed or adapted in order to be able to track and manage requests effectively.
  • Amendments will need to be made to all relevant policies, contracts, software and documents to reflect these changes. Managers will also need to be trained and made aware of these updates to avoid potential errors or misinformation.
  • Finally, don't forget to check for proof in the form of a MAT B1 form; more information on this can be found here.

It is also worth noting that these amendments do not have any impact on individual eligibility for paternity pay and there are no changes to eligibility for pay from previous policies. You can read the draft policy document in full on the government website here.

If you have got questions or need advice around the proposed changes to paternity policy, don't hesitate to get in touch with us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We offer a series of options for your school or trust; from a quick-queries helpline to our full consultancy package. Click here to find out more.

Stay Informed

When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.

Multi academy trusts: Looking at the top slice
Are you conducting hidden internal scrutiny?

Keystone Knowledge

Registered Office: Nightingale Way, Etwall, Derbyshire DE65 6RT

Keystone Knowledge is a Registered Company in England, no. 12092122

Privacy Policy