Key HR Facts – Statutory Time Off, Leave and Pay

[Updated 11/03/2021] for rates applicable from 6th April 2021 ~

Quick references to various statutory employment rights in the UK are given below.  Being statutory, they serve as the minimum entitlement of employees.    Rates of pay enclosed in brackets are the rates for the previous year.

Note for some statutory payments there is a lower earnings limit condition of £120 pw  (£118).

Adoption Leave and Pay   ~

  • Leave = 26 weeks Ordinary Adoption Leave plus 26 weeks Additional Leave
  • 39 weeks pay as follows:
    • the first 6 weeks = 90% of their gross average weekly earnings;
    • the next 33 weeks = whichever is lower of £151.97  (£151.20) a week or 90% of their gross average weekly earnings
  • Minimum Continuous Service requirement
    An individual must have 26 week’s continuous service with you by the date a child is matched for adoption.

Annual Holidays/Leave

  • 5.6 weeks paid annual leave (that is  28 days paid holidays for individuals working full time five days a week)
  • The above total may be inclusive of public/bank holidays.
  • Part time staff should receive a pro rata holiday entitlement.

Ante-Natal Appointments/Classes


  • The right to a reasonable amount of time off with pay to attend appointments or parental classes recommended by a registered midwife or doctor.
  • An employer may request proof of an appointment for the second or subsequent appointments.

Fathers and partners

  • Fathers and partners are entitled to be given time off (without pay) to attend a maximum of two appointments.
  • The time off allowed is up to 6.5 hours per appointment which includes time for traveling, waiting and attendance at the appointment.
  • The employer does not have the right to demand proof of the appointment.

Minimum Continuous Service requirement.

  • No minimum service is required to qualify.

Keeping in Touch (KIT) days

Up to 10 days may be used for working or training which will not break statutory maternity leave.  The employer has discretion as to whether to provide any payment on such days.

No matter how short the time spent working or training on a day,  that will count as one day of the 10 permitted for KITpurposes.

Maternity Leave

  • 26 weeks Ordinary Maternity Leave plus
  • 26 weeks Additional Maternity Leave.
  • Mandatory maternity leave must be taken for the 2 weeks immediately following the birth of the baby (Factory workers must take 4 weeks mandatory maternity leave);
  • Mandatory leave will normally form part of ordinary maternity leave.
  • Keeping in Touch (KIT) days – 10 allowed without breaking maternity leave; the employer has discretion as to whether to provide any payment on such days.
  • During Ordinary and Additional Maternity Leave, the contract continues except for the right to contractual remuneration as Statutory Maternity Pay will often be due (N.B. certain other entitlements may be affected).

Maternity Pay  ~

Maximum payment of 39 weeks.
–  The first 6 weeks are paid at an average of 90% of weekly earnings.
–  The remaining 33 weeks are paid at the lower of either £151.97  (£151.20) per week  or 90% of average weekly earnings

Parental Leave & Pay

  • 18 weeks unpaid leave for each child but only part of that may be taken in a year;
  • Maximum of 4 weeks leave can be taken in a year and must be taken in blocks of one or more weeks i.e. not as single days unless the employer agrees to that;
  • If desired, leave could be taken immediately after maternity leave.

Qualifying Conditions 

  • Parent must have one year’s continuous service and  meet the age and time conditions:
    • If the child disabled or in receipt of disability living allowance, the leave must be taken by the child’s 18th birthday
    • If the child is adopted leave to be taken by the child’s 18th birthday or the 5th anniversary of their adoption, whichever comes first.
    • In other instances before the child’s 5th birthday.

No entitlement to be paid when taking parental leave.

Shared Parental Leave & Pay  ~

A different entitlement to parental leave above as spouses or partners may share part of the mother’s leave entitlement.


  • Maximum of 52 weeks
  • The first two weeks is compulsory leave for the mother.
  • Up to 37 weeks (i.e. 39 less compulsory 2 weeks) may be shared.


A mother will be eligible for shared parental leave to care for her child if she:

  • has at least 26 weeks’ continuous employment by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth and remains in continuous employment with that employer until the week before any period of shared parental leave that she takes;
  • has the main responsibility for the care of the child at the date of the birth (apart from the responsibility of her partner or the child’s father)
  • is entitled to statutory maternity leave in respect of the child but sacrifices part of that entitlement i.e. shortens her statutory maternity leave by giving the relevant notice, or she returns to work before the end of the maternity leave period and
  • has complied with the relevant notice and evidence requirements.

Other conditions also apply to the other person sharing the period of leave/pay.


  • Whichever is the lower of £151.97  (£151.20) a week or 90% of your average weekly earnings for up to 39 weeks but note that:
    –  Any weeks in which the child’s mother or adopter has been in receipt of Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance or Statutory Adoption Pay will reduce the pay entitlement period to less than 39 weeks.

Paternity Leave   ~

  • Leave must be taken in blocks of either one week or 2 consecutive weeks and in all cases must finish within 56 days of the birth of the child.


  • He/she must have 26 week’s continuous service by the 15th week before the expected week of confinement;
  • Still be employed in the week before the leave starts (a week begins on Sunday);
  • Have or expect to have responsibility for the child’s upbringing;
  • Must be the biological father of the child or the mother’s husband or partner (including same sex relationships).

2 weeks pay at whichever is the lower of either £151.97  (£151.20) per week or 90% of average weekly earnings.

Additional Paternity Leave

Leave Entitlement

  • Up to 26 weeks additional leave if the mother has returned to work;
  • Additional paternity leave can be taken from 20 weeks after the child is born but must have been completed by the child’s first birthday or in the case of adoption between 20 weeks and 52 weeks after the child starts living with the adopter.

Qualifying Conditions

  • The mother must have been eligible for Maternity Allowance or Statutory Maternity Pay or Statutory Adoption Pay.

Leave may be paid if taken out of the balance of the 39 week maternity leave period to which the mother (or co-adopter) is entitled but will not take.

Redundancy – Time off to look for Work or Retraining

If an individual has been informed that he/she will be made redundant, time off with pay may be requested.  The total payment is limited to 2/5ths of a week’s pay.

Excluded Individuals = Police, Armed forces, profit share fishermen.

Sick Leave and Pay   ~

Maximum entitlement of 28 weeks whether linked periods or consecutive weeks.

£96.35  (£95.85 ) per week but may be higher if your employer has a contractual sick pay scheme.

Urgent Domestic (Dependant) Leave

  • A reasonable amount of unpaid time off to deal with an immediate crisis involving a dependant individual (from a few hours to a few days, for example);
  • Time off is for a limited purpose e.g. to arrange a stand in carer or care arrangements or to deal with an accident at school to your own child.  It is not for personally looking after the dependant beyond the immediate crisis;
  • Dependant includes a spouse, civil partner, child or parent or grandparent or co-habitee living in the same household;
  • Dependant includes a person who reasonably relies on the individual for assistance if injured or ill or a normal care arrangement fails;
  • The employee must tell his employer as soon as reasonably practicable.

Qualifying Conditions
No minimum service but employer may take account of the amount and dates of earlier absences but inconvenience to the organisation is not a valid reason to decline such leave.

– No entitlement to pay – but employer may pay at his discretion.

Go to Working Time and Rest Periods – Key HR Facts page

Important Note about Key HR Facts

Key HR Facts are given in good faith but do not constitute legal advice as we are not aware of the particular facts of the situation you have in mind.  Neither the author nor the founder nor associate content producers accept liability for the use of the information.