The Additional Paternity Leave Regulations 2010 (the APL Regulations) came into force on 6 April 2011 to regulate the exercise of the right which will apply to parents of a baby due on or after 3 April 2011 and to adoptive parents who are notified that they have been matched with a child on or after that date.

The APL Regulations confer the right to take APL on an employee who:

  • In relation to the birth of a child, is the child's biological father or the spouse or partner (of either sex) of the child's mother.
  • In relation to the adoption of a child, is the spouse or partner (of either sex) of the person who, having been matched for adoption, has elected to take adoption leave (referred to as "the adopter" for the purposes of the APL Regulations).

An eligible employee's statutory minimum entitlement is to one period of APL which must be taken to care for the child, taken in multiples of complete weeks and last between two weeks and 26 weeks. The period of APL must be taken within a "window" that starts 20 weeks after, and ends 12 months after, the child's date of birth or placement for adoption and is dependent on the employee's spouse, civil partner or partner having returned to work from their statutory maternity or adoption leave.

To be eligible to take APL, the employee must have 40 weeks of continuous employment with their employer, as at the expected birth date, the required relationship with the child and its mother or adopter and they must also satisfy the applicable notice and evidential requirements, including the provision of declarations from both themselves and the mother or adopter. Once an employee has given eight weeks' notice of their intention to take APL, their employer is obliged to confirm the start and finish dates within 28 days of receipt of the employee's.

Employees who take this right are protected in law in the same way as women on maternity leave. The above amounts to a substantial change to existing paternity provisions and employers need therefore to consider whether it will be necessary to adapt employment policies and practices accordingly.