6. New Parent Support Policy
6.1.1. The New Parent Support Policy aims to:
- outline the procedure that eligible employees must use to request new parent support leave, also known as paternity leave
- provide details about employees' statutory and contractual rights to new parent support pay, also known as paternity pay
6.2.1. This policy applies to all employees who meet the eligibility criteria.
6.3.1. Child is a person who is under the age of 18 when they are placed with the adopter for adoption (for the purposes of new parent support leave).
6.3.2. The due date is the estimated date of childbirth.
6.3.3. The intended parent or intended parents are employees who cannot or choose not to conceive on their own and use surrogacy or adoption.
6.3.4. Occupational Paternity Pay (OPP) is a payment the NHS provides to support employees in taking new parent support leave.
6.3.5. A Partner, whether opposite or same sex, is a person living with the mother or birth parent in an enduring family relationship. They cannot be an immediate relative of the mother or birth parent.
6.3.6. Paternity leave is the statutory name for new parent support leave.
6.3.7. Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) is a payment provided by the government to support employees in taking new parent support leave.
6.4. Roles and responsibilities
6.4.1. There is a range of standard expectations which underpin all policies. Read more about standard roles and responsibilities. In addition, the following specific responsibilities apply to this policy.
6.4.3. The manager should:
- provide a prompt response, in writing, to notifications by employees of their intention to take new parent support leave, setting out their entitlement to new parent support leave and new parent support pay, where applicable
- accept later notification of the employee's intention to take new parent support leave than the timeframes stipulated below, if there is good reason to do so
- be flexible to accommodate any changes to the new parent support leave start date
6.4.4. The employer should advise the employee about the following policies:
- Parental Leave Policy
- Shared Maternity and Shared Adoption Policy
- Flexible Work Location Policy
- Flexible Work Pattern Policy
6.4.6. The employee should:
- in the case of a birth child, notify their manager as soon as possible and at least 28 days before they want the new parent support leave to start, using the form [Becoming a birth parent]
- in the case of an adopted child, notify their manager no later than 7 days after the date on which they receive notification of the child being matched for adoption, using the form [Becoming an adoptive or parental order parent and Adopting a child from abroad]
- promptly update their manager if their new parent support leave start date needs to change
6.4.7. There are particular notification provisions if an employee is adopting from overseas.
6.5.1. Antenatal support
6.5.2. An employee or eligible agency worker may take unpaid time off to accompany a pregnant woman to an antenatal appointment. The employee must be the spouse or civil partner, partner, or nominated carer of a mother who gives birth to a child. Otherwise, they must be the biological father of the child.
6.5.3. This right is limited to 2 antenatal appointments for each pregnancy. The time taken for each appointment cannot exceed more than 6 and half hours, including travel and waiting time.
6.5.4. New parent support leave
6.5.5. An employee is entitled to take up to 2 weeks of new parent support leave. They must be the spouse or civil partner, partner, or nominated carer of a mother who gives birth to a child. Otherwise, they must be the biological father of the child.
6.5.6. New parent support leave is also available to employees on the birth of a child to a surrogate mother. The employee, spouse, or civil partner must be one of the child's biological parents who intends to apply for a parental order.
6.5.7. New parent support leave is also available to adoptive parent employees where a child is matched or newly placed with them for adoption. Either adoptive parent may take new parent support leave while the other parent has chosen to take adoption leave.
6.5.8. The employee must take their new parent support leave in a single block of either one or two consecutive weeks. They cannot take it in instalments.
6.5.9. New parent support leave can start either from the date the child is born or placed for adoption. In the case of overseas adoption, the start date is when the child arrives in the UK. Otherwise, it can start from a chosen number of days or weeks after that date.
6.5.10. The period of new parent support leave must end within 8 weeks of the date the child is:
- born, or the due date if the child is born early
- placed for adoption
- placed or arrives in the UK in the case of overseas adoptions
6.5.11. New parent support pay
6.5.12. Employees may be entitled to paid parental support leave if they meet the eligibility criteria for Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) or Occupational Paternity Pay (OPP).
6.5.13. Only one period of new parent support pay is ordinarily available when there are multiple births, such as twins.
6.5.14. Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP)
6.5.15. Employees may be entitled to SPP during their new parent support leave.
6.5.16. To qualify for SPP, an employee must have:
- 26 weeks of continuous service at the end of the 15th week before the EWC or the end of the week, the adoption agency notifies them of a match. In the case of overseas adoptions, it is the date the child arrives in the UK or when the employee wants their pay to start
- average earnings above the lower earnings limit for National Insurance contributions during the 8 weeks before the end of the qualifying week
- followed the application procedures set out in this policy
6.5.17. SPP is the lesser of:
- the statutory weekly rate of SPP [UK Government statutory paternity pay and leave guidance and forms] or
- 90% of the employee's average weekly earnings
6.5.18. Occupational Paternity Pay (OPP)
6.5.19. Employees granted new parent support leave will receive full pay during this period if they have 12 months' continuous service with their or any other NHS employer before they take their new parent support leave.
6.5.20. Full pay will be calculated based on the average weekly earnings rules for calculating Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) entitlements. These are subject to the qualifications set out within sections 15.22 and 15.39 of the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook.
6.5.21. The eligible employee will receive full pay less any SPP receivable.
6.5.22. To calculate continuous service eligibility criteria, the employer should consult the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook.
6.5.23. Financial support
6.5.24. Employees who do not meet SPP or OPP criteria should ask about financial support by contacting their local Jobcentre Plus office.
6.5.25. Application process
6.5.26. Employees should notify their manager at least 28 days before they want new parent support leave and pay to start, using one of the following forms:
6.5.27. Resolution of disagreements
6.5.28. Should a disagreement arise, the employee has the right to raise matters under the Grievance Policy. It may be appropriate for either party to seek advice on resolving the matter from HR colleagues or a trade union representative. They should seek early resolution wherever possible.
6.5.29. Related policies:
- Maternity Policy
- Parental Leave Policy
- Shared Maternity and Shared Adoption Policy
- Adoption, Fostering and Kinship Policy
6.6. Supporting documentation
It is proposed that the supporting documents listed below will be developed to support the policy. Supporting documents are not part of the consultation. These will be drafted following the consultation when responses have been analysed and the policy is developed in a final draft.
Descriptor: guide to help employees use and understand the New Parent Support Policy.
Descriptor: guide to help managers use and understand the New Parent Support Policy.
New Parent Support policy flowchart
Descriptor: visual and text alternative flowcharts outlining the key steps in the New Parent Support Policy.
Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave forms
Descriptor: form to notify manager of intention to take paternity leave to allow employees to access appropriate payment
6.7. Consultation questions
We are inviting responses to this consultation using the Scottish Government's consultation hub. The following questions are set.
In your response, all questions have the option to answer yes or no. You are invited to provide further comment in a free text box. If you wish to make specific reference to a section of the policy, please quote the relevant numbered line in this consultation document.
1. Do you feel there are any gaps in the policy?
2. Do you feel there are any gaps in the proposed list of supporting documents?
3. Do you have any other comments to make on the policy?
4. Do you have any views on the potential impacts of this policy on equalities groups?
It is against the law to discriminate against someone because of: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. These are protected characteristics under the Equality Act, 2010.
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