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LEGAL UPDATE-Response to APL&P consultation published

Response to APL&P consultation published

The Government has published its response to the consultation on the administration of additional paternity leave and pay. Paternity rights are to be extended with the introduction of 26 weeks’ additional paternity leave and pay under regulations to be made under the Work and Families Act 2006. The regulations will permit qualifying fathers to benefit from additional paternity leave if the mother returns to work before the end of the maternity leave period to which she is entitled.

The Work and Families Act 2006 provides powers enabling the introduction of Additional Paternity Leave and Pay (APL&P) to provide more choice to parents in caring for their child and give fathers a greater opportunity to be involved in the upbringing of their child. On 14 May 2007 the Government published a consultation document seeking views on the administration of APL&P and the Government has now published its response. 

The response indicates that the following key provisions concerning administration of the scheme will be built into the draft regulations: 

  • In order to discourage fraud, HMRC will carry out compliance checks and may impose financial penalties where it can be shown that claimants either    fraudulently or negligently make a claim for APL&P
  • When an employee applies for a period of APL&P the employer will be required to confirm an entitlement within a 28 day statutory period
  • Completion of a self-certification form by an applicant for APL&P showing that the eligibility criteria have been met will be compulsory
  • In order to allow a degree of flexibility between mothers changing their dates and fathers informing their employers of their change in circumstances, the legal requirement will be for fathers to provide 6 weeks’ notice of any changes to their start and finish dates for APL&P.

The Government has previously said that the earliest date that additional paternity leave and pay will be implemented is April 2010. The response can be viewed at:http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file44293.pdf

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