Time off for expectant fathers

Did you know that from 1 October 2014, an expectant father will be entitled to unpaid time off for ante-natal appointments. 30% of fathers don’t take any time off before the birth of their child and the new legislation is aimed at encouraging fathers’ involvement with their children. The right to time off applies to any person in a relationship with the expectant mother i.e. a husband, civil partner, or partner (of either sex) in an enduring relationship.

The partner of a pregnant woman will be entitled to take unpaid time off work to accompany the woman to up to 2 of her ante-natal appointments. The time off is capped at 6.5 hours for each appointment. An employer can request an employee to provide a signed declaration stating:

a) that the employee has a qualifying relationship with a pregnant woman or her expected child;

b) that the employee’s purpose in taking time off is to accompany a pregnant woman to an ante-natal appointment;

c) that the appointment in question is made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, registered midwife or registered nurse; and

d) the date and time of the appointment.

Pregnant women normally attend around 10 ante-natal appointments and are entitled to paid time off for their ante-natal care. It is up to the partner to decide which 2 appointments they wish to use their new entitlement on. Employers can be more generous and offer more time off for expectant fathers than the statutory 2 appointments.

Employees will have a right to use this new entitlement from first day of their employment without the need to accrue any minimum amount of service with their employer. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has published guidance on the new rights, which explains the right in more detail.

If you want to make sure you’re complying with the time off regulations for pregnant women and their partners, there is no easier way than using Engage to track their attendance. Find out more about Engage.