In August, ICB wrote about the changes to Statutory Paternity Leave and Pay that will be effective in 2024.

In August, ICB wrote about the changes to Statutory Paternity Leave and Pay that will be effective in 2024.  The fundamental eligibility criteria and 2-week entitlement has not changed but the flexibilities will start in April 2024. 

We detail the flexibilities in the ‘before and after’ table below, underlining the important changes: 


Before (Now)

After (from April 2024)

Entitlement (2 weeks)

Only available in a consecutive ‘block’ (of 1 or 2 weeks)

Available in discontinuous blocks, e.g. 1 week, return to work and 1 week later

Time limit

56 days from birth or placement

52 weeks from birth or placement


1.     Entitlement and notification of leave at the Qualifying Week (birth) or Matching Week (adoption)

(though change requests  to the above can be made giving 28 days’ notice)

1.     Entitlement (at the Qualifying Week (birth) or Matching Week (adoption)

2.     Notification of leave 28 days before start (also for changes)


Applies UK-wide

Changes are only effective in Great Britain


On 10 August 2023, HMRC wrote to software developers to confirm the necessary legislation will be in place by 08 March 2024, thereby allowing flexibility from the start of the 2024/25 tax year (08 March being 28 days ahead of 06 April).  However, this was incorrect and did not account for: 

  • Paternity (birth) is centred around the expected date
  • Paternity (adoption) is centred around the actual dates of placement


On 31 October 2023, HMRC corrected the information to software developers and confirmed the following effective dates for the amended and flexible Statutory Paternity Leave and Pay regime:

  • Paternity (birth) where the Expected Week of Childbirth starts on and after Sunday 07 April 2024
  • Paternity (adoption) where the actual date of placement in on and after Saturday 06 April 2024


For Bookkeepers

As mentioned, there is no change to the eligibility and rate of payment / reclaim criteria.  All that is happening is a rigid regime is being made more flexible.  2024/25 software releases must accommodate this and your clients’ policies and procedures will need to be updated.

Also, whilst the change of legislation and UK Government guidance says this is only effective in Great Britain, the changes apply where the employee has a contract written under the Great British Employment Rights Act 1996.  It is perfectly possible for an employee in Northern Ireland to have a contract of employment written under this Act.

ICB Comment

ICB welcomes HMRC’s clarification to software developers of the correct effective dates having taken legal advice.