When an employer does not pay Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) to an employee, they are required to issue form SSP1 to the employee, which details the reasons why the employer cannot pay SPP.

On 14 March 2024, ahead of the changes to the SPP and Leave regime, HMRC issued an updated SPP1 with the reference ‘HMRC 03/24’.  This replaces the previous version which has been around since 2015. 

For Bookkeepers

This SPP1 relates to Statutory Paternity Pay for births and adoptions where: 

  • The expected date of birth is on and after 07 April 2024 or
  • The date of placement is on and after 06 April 2024  

The form is completed by the employer quoting employee details and is only advice to the employee that they are not being paid.  The employee cannot use the form to claim any State allowance, as would be the case with non-payment of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). 

There are seven reasons the employer may have for not paying SPP:

1.     The service requirement was not met (i.e. the 26 weeks)

2.     The notifications were not received in time (a notification of entitlement must be sent at the 15th week before the expected date of birth or 7 days before the placement of the child.  PLUS, the employee must give at least 28 days’ notice of the commencement of leave)

3.     Acceptable evidence was not received (although the firm refers to this as ‘entitlement’, it refers to the 28 days’ notice prior to commencing)

4.     The employee was entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) (SSP and SPP cannot be paid at the same time and payment for sickness overrides payment for paternity leave)

5.     The employee worked (an employee cannot perform work under the contract of employment and have a statutory leave entitlement)

6.     Earnings were too low (i.e. were below the Lower Earnings Limit for National Insurance) or

7.     The employee was in prison or detained in legal custody

With regards reason two, there are two notifications that are required:

1.     The notification of entitlement.  This can be given to the employer via form SC3 (birth) or SC4 and SC5 (for adoptions).  This notification is simply the employee saying to the employer that they have an entitlement to Statutory Paternity Pay and / or Paternity Leave

2.     The notification of commencement.  Having advised the employer that they are entitled, the employee must also advise the employer when they want their Statutory Paternity Leave and Pay to start.  This is the form that must be given 28 days ahead of the first day of leave 

Bookkeepers and employers need to be aware that there are instances where notifications may be late and HMRC expect tolerance with the rigid dates.  If the employer disagrees with an employer decision not to pay, they can always contact HMRC’s Statutory Payments Disputes Team (on 03000 560 630).  It is more than likely that HMRC will ask the employer to be flexible and allow the employee to have their statutory entitlements (to leave and pay).

Like the Statutory Paternity Leave and Pay regime itself, flexibility is the key word.