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Durham University

Human Resources & Organisational Development

Paternity Leave - Guidelines for Managers

What do I need to consider when a member of my staff wishes to take paternity leave?

Refer the member of staff to appropriate sources of advice

  • the section on the web on ‘Paternity Leave – Guidelines for Employees’ which covers most of the key areas on which the member of staff may need further information.
  • their HR representative to ensure that the member of staff understands thier entitlement to leave, dates for notification, etc.

Remember to establish if the member of staff wishes to keep knowledge of thier intention to take paternity leave restricted only to those who need to know at this stage.

Talk to the member of about any plans at this stage

Depending on when you are notified, the member of staff may not have made any firm decisions about the practicalities of the paternity leave. The member of staff is required to notify the University formally no later than the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (the ‘Qualifying Week’) of their intention to take paternity leave and the intended start date of paternity leave.

Requests to work part-time or change a working pattern

You should contact your HR representative for information if you receive a request to work on a part-time basis, work from home, or for any other change to the working pattern.

You must give sympathetic consideration to such requests. Recent legislation gives employees who wish to vary their working pattern in order to provide care for a child the right to request a flexible working pattern. This is not an automatic right to change the hours or location of work, however, applications must be dealt with following a set procedure and timescale, and an application may only be refused due to clear business grounds. You must consider the request very carefully.

Do not dismiss the request because you believe it will be ‘inconvenient’ either to you directly or to the department or because you cannot see how it could work. Part-time and job share arrangements, for example, can and do work very well within the University.

Please contact your HR representative if you receive any request for flexible working, or if you know that a member of staff is considering making a request.

Shared parental leave may also be relevant to employees taking paternity leave and there is a separate policy on this.