Here at the Co-op we know that having a baby or adopting a new child is an important and exciting time and we want to support you. This policy sets out the entitlements to leave and pay for fathers, partners of pregnant parents and Co-Adopters. Please note if you are the Primary Adopter, your entitlements are set out in our Adoption and Surrogacy Policy.

We recognise that some of our colleagues may not identify with the term ‘paternity’, so we have added the term ‘non-pregnant parent’ into this policy to ensure inclusivity for our LGBTQ+ parents. However, for simplicity, and in line with legislation, the term ‘paternity’ may still be used in our forms and systems, including payroll, so please note that where used, this term includes all non-pregnant parents. We recognise that in a couple adopting or having a child through surrogacy, either partner could be the Co-Adopter.

There are some important things that you need to know and do to help us make all the arrangements for your Paternity/Non-pregnant Parent/Co-Adopter Leave and pay – so talk to your manager if you have any questions or concerns or you can contact HR Services.

Crucial bits

Paternity/Non-pregnant Parent/Co-Adopter Leave

Eligibility

This policy will apply to you if:

  • you have worked for the Co-op for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before your baby is due to be born, and
  • you are either the biological father of the child// or partner of the pregnant parent

or:

  • you and your partner are adopting a child, or having a child through a surrogacy arrangement, and you are the Co-Adopter (see Adoption and Surrogacy Policy for more details), and
  • you have 26 weeks’ service by the end of the week you’re matched with the child/notified of a fostering to adopt/concurrent planning placement (for UK adoptions), or the date the child enters the UK/when you want your pay to start (for overseas adoptions), or by the end of the 15th week before your baby is due to be born (if having a baby through surrogacy)

If you have more than one job with the Co-op, your earliest start date will be used to calculate your eligibility for Paternity/Non-pregnant Parent/Co-Adopter Leave.

You can only take one period of Paternity/Non-pregnant Parent/Co-Adopter Leave for each pregnancy or adoption placement, even if more than one child is born or placed with you for adoption. However, you may have the right to take unpaid Parental Leave in addition – see our Parental Leave Policy.

If you and your partner/baby’s pregnant parent are eligible, you might want to take Shared Parental Leave. This allows you to share your partners’/baby’s pregnant parent leave and pay entitlement during the first year. Just so it’s clear, you can’t take Paternity/Non-pregnant Parent/Co-Adopter Leave if you’ve already taken any periods of Shared Parental Leave for this pregnancy or adoption placement. But taking Paternity/Non-pregnant Parent/Co-Adopter Leave won’t stop you from taking Shared Parental Leave later for the same pregnancy or adoption. Take a look at the Shared Parental leave Policy for more details.

Taking leave

You can take Paternity/ Non-pregnant Parent/Co-Adopter Leave either as one single week or as two consecutive weeks – but not as two separate weeks.

You can start it on any day of the week after your child’s born, or for Co-Adopters, when your adoption/fostering to adopt/concurrent planning placement starts.

If adopting through fostering to adopt/concurrent planning, you can delay it until your adoption placement order is granted.

Your leave must finish within 56 days, or eight weeks, of your child’s birth, or placement with you (or if adopting through fostering to adopt/concurrent planning, within 56 days, or eight weeks of your adoption placement order, if you delayed taking Co-Adoption Leave until then. If you work part-time, you’ll get Paternity/Non-pregnant Parent/Co-Adopter Leave on a pro-rata basis.

If you want to take Paternity/Non-pregnant Parent /Co-Adopter Leave, talk to your manager as soon as you can and no later than the end of the 15th week before your baby’s due or seven days after being told that you’ve been matched with a child for adoption/notified of a fostering to adopt placement. Tell your manager when you want your Paternity/Non-pregnant Parent/Co-Adopter Leave to start and how much leave you want to take (one week or two weeks).

If you’ve got more than one role at the Co-op, your Paternity/Non-pregnant Parent/Co-Adopter Leave must be taken at the same time in each role, and have the same start and end dates. You need to tell both of your managers, but the process will usually be handled by your primary manager – the one for the role you’ve got the most contracted hours. Your primary manager will keep your other managers informed.

You’ll need to complete a PL1 - Application for Paternity Leave form, which can be found on the Intranet. If you want to change your plans please try to give your manager as much notice as you can, ideally 28 days.

Note, in the sad event that your baby dies or if your adoption placement does not work out, your paternity leave and pay should continue while it was due. You might also be entitled to time off under our Parental Bereavement Policy.

Paternity/Non-pregnant Parent/Co-Adopter pay

Here at the Co-op we give enhanced pay to new fathers/partners of pregnant parents and Co-Adopter parents (for simplicity and in line with legislation, referred to as Co-op Paternity Pay, CPP) if you qualify for Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP). To qualify for Statutory Paternity Pay you must:

  • meet the criteria above to qualify for Paternity/Non-pregnant Parent/ Co-Adopter Leave
  • be employed by the Co-op on the date the child is born or placed for adoption, including through a fostering to adopt placement
  • be earning an average of at least £120 a week
  • have not already taken any period of Shared Parental Leave for this pregnancy or adoption placement

If you have more than one job with the Co-op, we will calculate your entitlement to SPP and CPP using your combined earnings across all roles.

If your average weekly earnings are below the amount needed to qualify for SPP, you may be eligible for Income Support while on Paternity/Non-pregnant Parent /Co-Adopter Leave. Additional financial support might be available through Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit, or Tax Credits – you can find out more from your local Jobcentre Plus.

Just so you know, CPP is a discretionary benefit and isn’t part of your terms and conditions of employment. This means that the Co-op has the right to change or withdraw CPP at any time, but we won’t do this if you’re already receiving it.

The current rate of CPP is full pay for two weeks (pro-rata if you work part-time) based on your contractual earnings.

Things to think about

Antenatal care and pre-adoption appointments

We know it’s important for you to go to antenatal or pre-adoption appointments with your partner.

You can take time off work to go to two antenatal appointments if:

  • you’re the father of the child
  • you’re the partner of a pregnant parent
  • you will become a parent through a surrogacy arrangement (and intend to apply for a Parental Order)

These include medical appointments, relaxation and parentcraft classes which have been recommended or made on the advice of a GP, midwife, or nurse.

If you’re adopting a child and are the Co-adopter, you can take time off work to go to two adoption appointments. These are appointments made by the adoption agency or Local Authority relating to a child being placed for adoption or for a Fostering for Adoption placement.

Try to give your manager as much notice of your appointments as you can. You can take up to 6.5 hours’ leave for each appointment, including travelling, waiting and attendance time, but we expect that most appointments won’t last more than half a day. Although this time off is unpaid, we’ll do our best to limit the effect wherever we can, like agreeing for you to make up the time where it’s possible or agreeing for you to take holiday.

Holidays

Your holiday entitlement will continue to accrue while you’re on Paternity/Non-pregnant Parent/Co-Adopter Leave. If your bank holidays aren’t already included in your holiday entitlement, you’ll also get days in lieu of any bank holidays which fall during your Paternity/Non-pregnant Parent/Co-Adopter Leave. Remember that once you’re back at work, the normal arrangements for carrying holiday forward will apply.

If you need further support

If you have any questions about Paternity/Non-pregnant Parent/Co-Adopter Leave, please speak to your manager. If managers need advice they can contact HR Services.

We know that it can be challenging to balance having a new child with your work. Flexible working might help - you can read more in our Flexible Working Policy.

We recognise that having a baby or adopting a child can mean significant changes in your personal life and you may need extra support and guidance in adapting to these. Remember we have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) who can provide colleagues with support. You can contact the EAP on 0800 069 8854. It’s independent and totally confidential. And there’s no charge for Co-op colleagues.