Impact on payroll systems as a result of changes to Paternity Leave and Pay

The Payroll Services team at LWA understand the importance of keeping clients informed about legislative changes that impact employers as part of our commitment to providing comprehensive payroll services. Our latest blog below offers guidance on upcoming changes to Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave (SPPL) effective from 8th March 2024, and provides advice on what to do where payroll systems are not prepared for fathers needing to take SPPL if their baby is delivered before 6th April 2024.

What are the key changes to paternity leave regulations?

The changes to Paternity Leave and Pay effective from 6th April 2024 aim to provide fathers and partners with greater flexibility in accessing and utilising their entitlements, and represent a significant step towards enhancing family-friendly workplace policies and supporting the evolving needs of employees. The key highlights include:


More flexibility to the structure of Paternity Leave

Under the new regulations, fathers and partners will have the option to take their two-week paternity leave entitlement as two separate one-week blocks. This departure from the previous requirement of taking one continuous week or two consecutive weeks offers greater adaptability to individuals, acknowledging diverse needs and circumstances.


Extended timeframe recognising family dynamics

The timeframe within which paternity leave can be taken will be extended. Instead of the previous restriction of 56 days following birth, employees will now have the option to take paternity leave at any time within the 52 weeks after the birth of their child. This change recognises the dynamic nature of family life and aims to accommodate varying situations that may arise during this period.


Reduced notice period to take Paternity Leave

The process for employees intending to take paternity leave will be streamlined by reducing the notice period from 15 weeks before the Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC) to a more manageable 28 days. This adjustment facilitates better planning for both employers and employees, ensuring smoother coordination during this crucial period.


Transition period and payroll implications

The regulations facilitating these changes will come into effect from 8th March 2024, aligning with the 28-day notice period mentioned in the previous section of this blog for fathers anticipating the birth of their children on or after 6th April 2024.  Where babies are delivered prematurely, fathers will still be able to take one or two weeks' Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave between 8th March and 6th April. However, this may pose challenges for employers whose payroll systems may not be updated to accommodate the new regulations until 6th April as follows:


Transition period before PAYE software update

HMRC's Basic PAYE Tool (BPT) will be updated with the new Paternity Pay and Leave terms by 6th April 2024. However, employers may encounter situations where employees opt to take Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave before this date, particularly in cases of early or premature births. Employers will be obliged to comply.


Reclaiming statutory payments:

Employers may need to reclaim Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) paid under the new rules before the PAYE software update. The process for reclaiming SPP depends on the timing and structure of the leave taken by the employee:

  • If an employee takes one block of SPPL before 6 April, the employer can reclaim SPP through their software as normal.
  • If the employee takes two non-consecutive weeks of SPPL before 6 April, the employer can only reclaim SPP for one of those weeks before 6 April 2024. The second week's SPP will need to be reclaimed after 6 April, once HMRC's systems have been updated.


Guidance for employers on changes to Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave

In light of these changes, it's essential for employers to:

  • Identify employees intending to claim Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave, whose babies have an expected week of birth after 6th April 2024.
  • Familiarise themselves with the transitional guidance on reclaiming 'new rules' Statutory Paternity payments before 6th April 2024.
  • Utilise available resources, such as HMRC's guidance on reclaiming SPP payments, to navigate the transition smoothly.


LWA's Payroll Services team are here to help you

As trusted payroll service providers, LWA are committed to supporting our clients through these changes. Should you require assistance or further clarification, please speak to Sara Bishop or Angela Kitson in our Payroll Services team by email to or call 0161 905 1801 in our South Manchester office or 01925 830 830 in Warrington. Please note this blog is intended for informational purposes only, however if you need legal or HR advice in relation to Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave, we can point you to a suitable expert through our network of contacts.