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What is Paternity Form SC3 for Paternity Pay and Leave in the UK?

Updated: Jan 19

Understanding Paternity Form SC3 and the Basics of Paternity Pay and Leave in the UK (2024 Updates)

In the UK, paternity leave and pay are essential components of work-life balance, especially for new parents. Understanding the intricacies of these provisions, particularly the role of Paternity Form SC3, is vital for UK taxpayers. This first part of our comprehensive guide dives into the basics of paternity pay and leave, focusing on the critical role of Form SC3, recent legislative changes, and what they mean for UK families.


Paternity Form for Paternity Pay and Leave in the UK



The Role of Paternity Form SC3 in Claiming Paternity Pay and Leave

Paternity Form SC3, officially known as "Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave: becoming a birth parent," is a crucial document for employed fathers-to-be or partners in the UK. This form is used to formally notify employers of the intention to take paternity leave and to claim Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP). Eligibility for paternity leave and pay hinges on the proper completion and submission of this form to the employer.


Eligibility Criteria for Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP)

To be eligible for SPP, the individual must be the child's father or the mother's or birth parent’s spouse, civil partner, or partner. The criteria include being continuously employed by the same employer for at least 26 weeks up to a specified qualifying week and being employed by the same employer at the time of the birth. Additionally, they must earn an average of at least £123 a week over an 8-week period ending with the qualifying week. The qualifying week is determined by counting back 15 weeks from the week the baby is expected to be born.


Recent Legislative Changes Affecting Paternity Pay and Leave

As of April 2024, significant changes are being introduced to paternity pay and leave regulations in the UK. These changes aim to provide greater flexibility for fathers and partners and promote gender equality in parental responsibilities.


Key Changes Effective from April 2024:

  1. Non-Consecutive Leave Blocks: Fathers or partners can now split their paternity leave into two blocks of one week or a continuous two-week block within the first year after the birth or adoption of their child.

  2. Revised Notice Period: The required notice period for each paternity leave block has been shortened to 28 days. Previously, employees had to give notice 15 weeks before the expected week of childbirth.

  3. Updates to PAYE Software and Forms: Employers will benefit from updates to payroll software and the availability of revised government forms (SC3, SC4, SC5) to accommodate these changes.


Transitional Guidance for Employers

Employers play a crucial role in facilitating paternity pay and leave. They need to identify employees eligible for the new rules and ensure compliance with the updated regulations. Important aspects include understanding the process of claiming repayment for SPP under the new rules and ensuring their payroll systems are updated accordingly. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may be eligible to claim SPP costs in advance under certain conditions.


Impact on Employers and Employees

The 2024 updates to paternity leave and pay regulations mark a significant shift towards more flexible and family-friendly workplace policies. Employers must adapt to these changes by updating their policies, software systems, and internal forms. Employees planning to take paternity leave should be aware of these new provisions to make informed decisions about their paternity leave and pay.


Understanding the nuances of Paternity Form SC3 and the associated paternity pay and leave regulations is crucial for UK taxpayers. The recent legislative changes effective from April 2024 signify a progressive move towards more adaptable and gender-equal parenting roles. As we move to the next part of our guide, we will delve deeper into the procedural aspects of applying for paternity leave and pay, and the practical implications for UK families and employers​​​​​​​​​.


How Much is Statutory Paternity Pay?

As of 2023, the statutory weekly rate of Paternity Pay in the UK is £172.48, or 90% of an employee's average weekly earnings, whichever is lower. This rate applies for paternity leave taken up to 2 weeks. Please note that this rate is effective from April 5, 2023, and there may be annual adjustments to this amount.



Navigating the Application Process for Paternity Pay and Leave

Building on the foundational understanding of Paternity Form SC3 and the basics of paternity pay and leave, this second part of our guide delves into the application process, focusing on procedural steps, employer obligations, and the practical implications of the 2024 legislative changes for UK families.


Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for Paternity Pay and Leave


1. Notification of Entitlement:

  • Employees must inform their employers about their intention to take paternity leave. This includes providing a 'Notification of Entitlement' 15 weeks before the expected birth or placement.

2. Completing Paternity Form SC3:

  • Form SC3 must be submitted to the employer no later than 15 weeks before the baby's expected birth date. This form officially requests paternity leave and pay.

3. Leave Request Form:

  • A separate leave request form must be submitted 28 days before the required leave dates, detailing the specific leave blocks being taken.

4. Employer's Response:

  • Employers must respond to the leave request, confirming the leave dates and any paternity pay arrangements.


Employer Obligations and Responsibilities

Employers must be proactive in managing paternity leave requests. Key responsibilities include:


  • Updating Policies and Procedures: Reflect the changes in leave duration, how it can be taken, and the notification requirements.

  • Software and Forms: Ensure payroll and HR software accommodate the flexibility from 6 April 2024 and have the updated government forms (SC3, SC4, SC5).

  • Internal Documentation: Update any internal forms or policies to align with the new statutory requirements.

  • Communication: Clearly inform employees about the reforms and ensure they understand the new entitlements and procedures.


Practical Implications for UK Families

The legislative changes in 2024 significantly impact how families plan and manage paternity leave. The ability to split paternity leave into two blocks offers greater flexibility, allowing fathers and partners to be more involved in early childcare while balancing work commitments. This flexibility can also be beneficial in managing family responsibilities and workloads more effectively.


Addressing Common Concerns and Questions


Eligibility Criteria:

  • Ensure continuous employment with the same employer for at least 26 weeks up to the 'qualifying week' and meet the minimum average weekly earnings requirement.

If Ineligible for Statutory Paternity Pay:

  • If an employee is not eligible for SPP, they must be informed in writing within 28 days of their notice. However, they may still be entitled to paternity leave.

Return to Work Post-Paternity Leave:

  • There is no requirement to pay back statutory paternity pay if an employee does not return to work post-leave. However, conditions may apply for enhanced or contractual paternity pay.


Navigating the application process for paternity pay and leave in the UK requires a clear understanding of the procedural steps and employer obligations. The 2024 legislative updates bring welcomed flexibility for UK families, enabling a more balanced approach to work and family life. In the final part of our guide, we will explore advanced topics, including dispute resolution, additional support resources, and best practices for employers and employees​​​​​​​​​.


How It's Paid

Your corporation can pay Statutory Paternity Pay to you in an equal manner and at the equal time as your everyday wages.


Statutory Paternity Pay is treated as ordinary pay and so they may also take off tax and National Insurance as usual.


Some Important Points to Be Noted

  • You can pick out when to start getting your Statutory Paternity Pay. Leave can begin on any day of the week:

  • On or following the kid's birth, but ought to be finished within eight weeks of the actual date of beginning (or 8 weeks after the expected date of birth if the infant is born early)

  • From the date of the kid's placement, however, should be finished within 8 weeks of the date of placement

  • You can take both one week or two consecutive weeks, however not abnormal days.

  • If you've got multiple activities, you may be able to get statutory paternity pay from each organization.

  • Your business enterprise can't pay you Statutory Paternity Pay for any week you are at work.


What If You Disagree With Your Organization's Decision?

If you feel that your company's decision is wrong; contact the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) personnel enquiry line at 0300 200 3500. You also can tell HMRC if you're no longer getting the right amount of Statutory Paternity Pay.



Paternity Pay and Leave in the UK provides eligible employees with the opportunity to take time off work to care for their newborn or adopted child, and may also receive SPP during this time. The HMRC form SC3 is the key to claiming SPP and registering for Paternity Leave, and it's important for new fathers to understand the eligibility criteria and process involved.


Advanced Topics in Paternity Pay and Leave: Dispute Resolution, Support Resources, and Best Practices

In the final segment of our comprehensive guide, we explore advanced aspects of paternity pay and leave in the UK, focusing on dispute resolution, support resources available for both employers and employees, and best practices to ensure smooth implementation of the 2024 legislative changes.


Dispute Resolution in Paternity Pay and Leave

Disputes may arise regarding eligibility, payment, or the terms of paternity leave. In such cases:

  1. Initial Employer-Employee Discussion: Employees should first address their concerns with their employer, seeking clarification or resolution.

  2. Utilizing Government Forms: Forms like SPP1 and SPP2 are designed for situations where there is a disagreement over paternity pay.

  3. Seeking External Help: If disputes persist, external agencies like Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) can provide guidance and mediation services.


Support Resources for Employers and Employees


For Employers:

  • HMRC Guidance: Comprehensive guidance on statutory paternity pay and leave regulations.

  • Payroll Software Updates: Ensuring payroll systems are up-to-date with the latest legislative changes.

  • Training and Workshops: Participating in workshops or training programs to understand and implement changes effectively.


For Employees:

  • Online Calculators and Eligibility Checkers: Tools provided by HMRC to calculate entitlements and check eligibility.

  • Acas Helpline: A valuable resource for advice on paternity pay and leave rights.

  • Online Forums and Communities: Platforms where employees can share experiences and seek advice from peers.


Best Practices for Smooth Implementation


For Employers:

  • Proactive Communication: Inform employees about the changes and how they affect paternity leave and pay.

  • Updating Internal Policies: Ensure internal policies and documentation reflect the new rules.

  • Training HR Personnel: Equip HR staff with the knowledge to handle queries and manage paternity leave processes effectively.


For Employees:

  • Early Planning: Plan and notify employers about paternity leave intentions well in advance.

  • Understanding Rights and Obligations: Familiarize themselves with the updated paternity leave and pay guidelines.

  • Keeping Documentation: Maintain records of all communications and submitted forms related to paternity leave.


The legislative changes in 2024 mark a significant step towards more flexible and inclusive paternity leave policies in the UK. Employers and employees must work together to ensure a smooth transition to these new regulations. By understanding the application process, being aware of available support resources, and following best practices, both parties can navigate these changes effectively. This comprehensive approach ensures that the new paternity pay and leave provisions are beneficial for families, employers, and the broader society, promoting a balanced and supportive work-life environment for new parents in the UK​​​​​​​​​.


The detailed exploration of Paternity Form SC3, along with the updated paternity pay and leave regulations, provides essential information for UK taxpayers. This guide, split into three parts, offers a thorough understanding of the topic, ensuring that readers are well-equipped to handle paternity-related matters efficiently and effectively.



FAQs About Paternity Form SC3 for Paternity Pay and Leave

Q1: What is Paternity Form SC3 used for?

A: Paternity Form SC3 is used to apply for Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) and Leave from an employer in the UK.


Q2: Who needs to fill out Form SC3?

A: The father of the child, or the mother's or adopter's spouse, civil partner, or partner, needs to complete Form SC3 if they wish to take paternity leave and claim SPP.


Q3: When should I submit Form SC3 to my employer?

A: Form SC3 should be submitted at least 15 weeks before the baby's due date or the date of adoption placement.


Q4: Can I fill out Form SC3 for adoption leave?

A: Yes, Form SC3 is also used for adoption leave, but you should indicate the adoption situation in the relevant section of the form.


Q5: Is it mandatory to use Form SC3 to apply for paternity leave?

A: While it's highly recommended to use Form SC3, employers may accept other forms of written notice, but Form SC3 ensures all necessary information is provided.


Q6: How do I calculate my expected week of childbirth for Form SC3?

A: The expected week of childbirth is usually the week your baby is due, starting on the Sunday of that week.


Q7: Can I submit Form SC3 electronically to my employer?

A: This depends on your employer's policies. Some may accept electronic submissions, while others might require a hard copy.


Q8: If I am self-employed, do I need to complete Form SC3?

A: Self-employed individuals are not eligible for Statutory Paternity Pay from an employer and therefore do not need to complete Form SC3.


Q9: Can I apply for paternity leave if I am on a fixed-term contract?

A: Yes, employees on fixed-term contracts can apply for paternity leave using Form SC3, provided they meet the eligibility criteria.


Q10: What if I have more than one job?

A: You need to submit separate Form SC3s to each employer from whom you wish to claim paternity leave and pay.


Q11: Do I need to provide proof of the pregnancy or birth with Form SC3?

A: Employers generally do not require proof of pregnancy or birth at the time of submitting Form SC3, but they may ask for it later.


Q12: What happens if my baby is born early and I haven’t submitted Form SC3 yet? A: You should submit Form SC3 as soon as possible after the birth if your baby is born early.


Q13: Can I change my paternity leave dates after submitting Form SC3?

A: Yes, you can change your leave dates, but you must notify your employer at least 28 days in advance of the new start date.


Q14: What if I am not the biological father but want to take paternity leave?

A: Non-biological parents, including partners of the mother or adopter, can apply for paternity leave using Form SC3 if they meet the eligibility criteria.


Q15: Can I use paternity leave for a child I am fostering?

A: Paternity leave is generally not available for fostering situations unless it leads to adoption.


Q16: What should I do if my employer refuses my paternity leave application?

A: If your employer refuses your application and you believe you meet the eligibility criteria, you can seek advice from Acas or a legal professional.


Q17: Are there any penalties for submitting a false or misleading Form SC3?

A: Yes, providing false information on Form SC3 can lead to legal consequences and repayment of any SPP incorrectly received.


Q18: Can I take paternity leave in separate weeks?

A: As of 2024, paternity leave can be taken in two separate blocks within 52 weeks of the birth or adoption.


Q19: Does paternity leave need to be taken immediately after the birth or adoption? A: Paternity leave does not need to be taken immediately but must be completed within 56 days of the birth or adoption.


Q20: What if I am adopting from abroad?

A: You are still eligible for paternity leave and should complete Form SC3, noting the details of the international adoption.

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