What is Paternity Pay?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2019
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Paternity pay is a job benefit that allows new fathers the opportunity to take time off from work in order to spend time with a recently born son or daughter. While not offered as widely as maternity leave and pay, more businesses are choosing to provide this type of benefit to new fathers. Depending on company policies, the rate of pay may mirror the employee’s typical weekly salary or wages, or be paid at a flat rate per week of paternity leave that is taken.

In some countries, particularly the nations in the European Union, paternity pay is a common element of employment benefits. Typically, laws governing employment and employee benefits will determine the duration of the leave period that the new father may claim, as well as the pay that is received for that period. It is not unusual for a limit on the leave to be imposed, with ten weeks being a standard used in a number of countries. For salaried employees, the weekly paternity pay is often the same rate of pay that the individual would receive if at work. For hourly employees, many companies use an average number of hours worked over the last calendar year to determine how much pay is received for each week of paternity leave granted.


As with a number of other benefits, employees must qualify for paternity leave and pay by meeting the criteria set forth by the employer. For example, company policies and procedures may require that the father be employed full-time rather than part-time. In addition, the company may require a minimum term of employment, such as six months, must be completed before the employee is eligible to take paternity leave and receive paternity pay. Since policies will vary based on governmental regulations and the standard practices of the employer, it is important to verify the rights and privileges that apply to asking for paternity leave and what type of pay will be provided during the leave.

It is important to note that just because an employer does offer paternity leave, that does not automatically mean that the employee will receive paternity pay. Many employers will grant the leave, but do not offer any type of compensation for the period of time that the employer is off the job. In situations of this type, the employee may be allowed to draw upon vacation or personal days as a way to maintain a stream of income during the leave period, or opt to do without the pay and use savings to cover essential expenses while spending time caring for and bonding with the new member of the family.



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