Parental leave

Dads and partners may be able to get 1 or 2 weeks of paternity leave to help and care for their partner and baby. Non-birth mothers should also have a right to take paternity leave.

You may also be able to get Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) for those weeks off work.

Statutory shared parental leave

If you and your partner both decide to care for your baby in their first year, you may be able to get shared parental leave.

This means sharing:

  • up to 50 weeks of parental leave
  • 37 weeks of pay with your partner if mum goes back to work early or gives up some of her maternity leave and pay

This gives you lots of flexibility and a chance to have time together with your baby.

There are a few conditions you must meet to be able to get shared parental leave. If you’re eligible you can take the time off work in up to 3 separate blocks, instead of taking it all in one go.

GOV.UK has more about parental leave and pay

Unpaid leave

Both parents have the right to take unpaid leave – this is different from shared parental leave. Dads and partners also have the right to take unpaid time off work to attend 2 antenatal appointments.

Unpaid parental leave gives each parent the right to take up to 18 weeks’ leave for each child, up to their 18th birthday. You can’t take more than 4 weeks in any year for each child, unless your employer agrees.

This won’t affect your employment rights.

GOV.UK has more about taking unpaid parental leave

Keeping in touch (KIT) days

You are entitled to work up to 10 KIT days while on maternity leave.

Keeping in contact with your employer during your maternity leave can be helpful to you both. This can be a good opportunity to discuss your return to work.

GOV.UK has more about your rights when on leave


Translations and alternative formats of this information are available from Public Health Scotland.