Attendance at antenatal appointments
Fathers and partners who are employees or agency workers have a legal right to take unpaid time off work to accompany their spouse/partner to up to two antenatal appointments. There is no qualifying period for this right for employees.
Agency workers must have completed at least 12 weeks in their assignment, remain in the same role with the hirer and have no breaks in assignments in order to qualify.
Best Practice: Employers can consider whether they would be willing to offer this as paid time off.
They are entitled to take a maximum of 6.5 hours per appointment, including travelling and waiting time. Any additional time can be taken as annual leave.
An employer can ask an employee to provide a written declaration saying that:
• they are the spouse/partner (including civil partner or same sex partner) of the mother or the baby’s father,
• they are taking time off to accompany the mother to an antenatal appointment,
• the appointment is made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, midwife or nurse, and
• the date and time of the appointment.
An employer can refuse the request of an employee / agency worker provided it is reasonable to do so.
• Employment Rights Act 1996
Attendance at the birth
Eligible employees may be able to take Statutory Paternity Leave to attend the birth of the child. Statutory Paternity Leave can be taken by the biological father, the mother’s husband, the mother’s partner, civil partner or the mother’s same sex partner. They must have or expect to have responsibility for the child’s upbringing. For more information, see the Paternity Leave and Pay section of this toolkit.
Eligible employees may be able to take Parental Leave or Time Off For Dependants to attend the birth. For more information, see the Parental Leave and Time Off For Dependants section of this toolkit.
Best practice: An employer may choose to offer more flexible arrangements to assist an employee to attend the birth, such as paid time off.