The government has issued draft regulations giving additional paternity leave rights to fathers of babies due or children adopted on or after 3 April 2011. Consultation on the draft regulations ends on 20 November 2009.
Where a mother returns to work before the end of additional maternity leave, the father will be able to take between 2 and 26 weeks of her unused leave as a single block of additional paternity leave. Such leave will be paid at the statutory rate only to the extent that the mother would have been receiving SMP for that period. Employees will self-certify that they are entitled, but employers can require information about the mother's employer in order to check.
The Government only expects 4-8% of eligible fathers to take this leave. The original plan simultaneously to increase SMP to 52 weeks appears to have been put on hold.