Paternity Leave for
International Instruments and
Domestic Laws in Selected
Siti Nur Jannah Binti Hasanuddin
1) An overview of paternity leave
2) International instruments on paternity leave
- ILO convention
3) Domestic Laws in Selected Countries
5) Recommendation and Conclusion
• There are several types of employee leaves.
• Some mandated by law, others offered as a
company benefit. Either it is paid or unpaid
leave. But all are seen as an important
attraction and retention tool for employers.
• Either paternity, maternity or parental: the issue
circulated in this area is the
duration of the leave – lengthy or shorter
paid or unpaid
Contract of or contract for
• The UK's Prince Harry will reportedly take two
weeks of paternity leave when his wife, Meghan
Markle, gives birth.
• A friend of the Prince is reported to have said, "He doesn't need
to take paternity leave because he doesn't work in the way most
people do, but he thinks it's a very modern dad thing to do."
Why male employees are
not taking Paternity Leave?
1) Social stigma/workmates - man as the breadwinner and the
woman as the caregiver
2) Financial inability
logical choice is to have the father continue to work and have the
mother's recovery period double as the period of time the
newborn can bond with a parent
3) Employee knowledge
men's lack of awareness of the Act's coverage and its applicability
to their situations.
4) Employer’s view
less likely to be recommended for rewards, may get passed over
for promotion, or are otherwise seen as less competent at their
jobs, fear of being laid off, and fear of not looking committed to the
Importance of Paternity leave
• Ensure that fathers share child care responsibility with
mothers and allows for greater involvement of men in the
critical early stages of an infant’s development -father-child
engagement – bring wife home, register birth certificate…
• Positive and meaningful interaction with mothers and fathers
from the very beginning helps to shape children's brain growth
and development for life, making them healthier and happier,
and increasing their ability to learn.
• Facilitate the return of mothers to the workplace - share the
burden of child-rearing
• Possibly help promoting gender equality in employment
1) An Over View Of Paternity Leave
Paternity Leave means;
• Paternity/Paternal leave is generally a short
period of leave for the father immediately
• Paternity leave is a short period of leave to care
for the child and the mother around the time of
childbirth. It is offered to male employers.
• Paternity leave is a father-specific right to take
time off work soon after the birth of a child
• The type of leave - depends on the
workplace/employer’s discretion and state
(mandatory PL – Chile 5 days) -
• Several companies offer general emergency
leave or family / parental leave instead of
dedicated paternity leave - in addition to
annual leave, which can be used by new
fathers at the time of childbirth.
• For example in Croatia, workers are entitled to
7 days of paid leave for personal reasons
instead of PL.
• Currently, Malaysian Employment Act 1955 does not provide for
mandatory paid paternity leave.
• Malaysian civil servants are entitled to 7 days paid paternity leave;
some state government employees can take up to 14 days.
• PL is not provided in Malaysia statutory law. Only in Pekeliling
Perkhidmatan Bil. 9 Tahun 2002 – service circular
• Not extended to contract for service (self employed)
• For non-government - Some companies only provide 1 to 3 days of
• But some multinationals/company are generous where they allow
male employees up to 14 days to a MONTH –paid PL-. Such as AXA
Malaysia IKEA , CIMB Bank
• In 2017, there was a request for 90 days’ maternity
leave for mothers and one month’s paternity leave
for fathers by Malaysian Trades Union Congress
• It was rejected by Malaysian Employers Federation
(MEF) on the ground that it will burden the
employer and would not be a lucrative choice for
• Such policies should not be introduced at an
economically unstable time like this. He viewed if the
government were to share the costs with the
companies, then this same system could be
practised in Malaysia.
2) International instruments on
a) ILO Convention
• In 1994, statutory paternity leave provisions existed in 40 of the 141
• By 2013, legislation on paternity leave was provided in 79 countries out
of the total 167.
• No ILO standard exists dealing specifically with paternity leave.
• ILO recommended PL be done as with maternity leave concept, risk
pooling through social insurance or public funds to mitigate potential
discrimination against or disadvantages to men with family
responsibilities at work and indirectly boost fathers’ leave take-up rates,
• In the 2009 ILC Resolution ILO recognizes that work–family
reconciliation measures concern not only women but also men and a
variety of new measures (such as provision of paternity leave and/ or
parental leave) have succeeded in permitting working fathers to be more
involved in the sharing of family responsibilities.
• There a number of countries enjoy PL provided
through collective bargaining agreements; such
• In Austria, there is no statutory paternity leave,
but public sector workers are entitled to a
month of unpaid leave through collective
• In Finland, the length of paternity leave is
defined by law, while the level of wage
replacement is determined by collective
• 92 countries do not have national policies in place that ensure
new fathers get adequate paid time off with their newborn
• Hence, UNICEF is urging governments to implement national
family-friendly policies that support early childhood
development, including paid paternity and maternity leave, free
pre-primary education, and paid breastfeeding breaks.
• The rationale? evidence suggests that fathers who play a more
active role with their child at the beginning of their lives will
develop a stronger bond with them which will boost the child’s
psychological development, as well as their self-esteem and life
satisfaction in the long-term.
• As a champion for early childhood development UNICEF came
to realise how important the benefit was to its own employees.
• Thus earlier this year, UNICEF modernized its approach to
parental leave provisions, with up to 16 weeks of paid leave for
paternity across all of its offices worldwide – the first UN
agency to extend such leave beyond the standard four weeks.
3) Domestic Laws in Selected
Singapore and UK
i. Laws? Paid/unpaid
iii. Length – duration
iv. Job security
• From 1 January 2017, eligible working fathers,
including those who are self-employed, are
entitled to 2 weeks of paid paternity leave
funded by the Government
• Child Development Co-Savings Act (CDCA)
(CHAPTER 38A) encourage married persons in
Singapore to have more children
• Regardless children are born or adopted
(ii) Eligibility for Paternity Leave
(A)Fathers of Biological children
For a father to be entitled to paternity leave in respect of a biological child, his
child must either:
Be a Singapore citizen from birth. A child will automatically be a Singapore
citizen from birth if the child is born in Singapore and at least one parent is also
a Singapore citizen; or
Become a Singapore citizen within 12 months of birth.
The child’s parents must also have been married:
At the time of the child’s birth;
For some time between the child’s conception and birth. This can apply even if
the parents are now no longer married; or
Within 12 months of the child’s birth. For this scenario, the parents should
marry within 1 year of the birth. This is because paid paternity leave has to be
taken within 1 year of the child’s birth
• the father must have been working for his employer
(if he is an employee) or for himself (if he is self-
employed) for a continuous period of 3 months.
• CDCA provides that an “ employee” is a person
who “works under a contract of service with an
employer in Singapore
• CDCA defines a “self-employed man” as being a
person who engages in or carries on any trade,
business, profession or vocation other than
employment under a contract of service”.
# CDCA requires self-employed fathers to be
Singapore residents before they can qualify for paid
(B) Fathers of Adopted Children
entitled to paid paternity leave if the child has been adopted within 1 year of the
date of the “Formal Intent to Adopt”.
The date of the “Formal Intent to Adopt” refers to:
• For children who are already Singapore citizens: the date when an application
to adopt the child is first made to the court; or
• For children who are not yet Singapore citizens: the date when the
Immigration & Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA) approves the child’s
The adopted child must also:
• Be a Singapore citizen from birth. As mentioned above, a child will
automatically be a Singapore citizen from birth if the child is born in Singapore
and at least one parent is also a Singapore citizen; or
• Becomes a Singapore citizen within 6 months of the date of
adoption. However, the adoptive father or mother must also be a Singapore
citizen on the date that the child’s Dependant’s Pass is issued.
Finally, the adoptive parent(s) also have to be married before or on the date of the
“Formal Intent to Adopt”.
(iii) Duration of Paid Paternity Leave
• Working fathers who meet all the above requirements will be entitled to 2
weeks of paid paternity leave.
• This entitlement is calculated on a per-day basis. Therefore, if you normally
work 5 days a week, then the Government will compensate either your
employer or yourself (for employed fathers and self-employed fathers
respectively) for 10 days’ worth of your salary.
*If you work 6 days a week, then you will get 12 days of GPPL.
• If the employer allows the employed father to take paternity leave flexibly,
then he may take the paid paternity leave at any time within 12 months of his
child’s birth (or adoption). This can be done either as one continuous 2-week
block, or split up into separate working days and taken in any mutually-agreed
• Alternatively, parties may opt for the default arrangement. The default
arrangement is for the employed father to take 2 continuous weeks of paid
paternity leave within 16 weeks of the child’s birth (or adoption).
• If an employed father leaves his job (whether by choice or otherwise) after his
child is born before fully using his paid paternity leave entitlement, he cannot
transfer his remaining paid paternity leave entitlement to any new employer
Additional Leave Arrangements
- Shared Parental Leave-
• An employed father may, with his wife’s agreement, use
up to 4 weeks of her paid maternity leave (and reduce
her paid maternity leave entitlement by the
same amount of leave). 12 weeks/16 weeks (women)
• For an employed father to be eligible for shared parental
The child’s mother must be entitled to paid maternity
The child must be a Singapore citizen; and
The employed father qualifies for paid paternity leave.
(iv) Job Security
• if an employed father has been dismissed by his
employer because he wanted to claim paid
paternity leave, he may be able to bring a claim
for unfair dismissal and seek compensation from
his former employer.
• Employers who deny, without reasonable cause,
employed fathers of their paid paternity leave
entitlement may be fined up to $5,000 and/or
jailed up to 6 months. These penalties increase
to fines of up to $10,000 and jail terms of up to
12 months for repeat offenders.
• An employed father may, by mutual agreement
with his employer, take any combination of
leave which adds up to 4 weeks within 12
months of his child’s birth (or adoption).
• Alternatively, employed fathers may choose to
take shared parental leave in the default
arrangement of a continuous period of 4 weeks
within 12 months of their children’s birth (or
• PL in UK became an issue after the prime
minister, Tony Blair, and the new leader of the
Conservative Party, David Cameron, have had
children while in office.
• In 2003, ERA 1966 Part VIII Chapter 3 Section 80A –
• Paternity and Adoption Leave Regulations 2002 and the
Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay
(General) Regulations 2002 came into force
• Partner’s having a baby, adopting a child or having a
baby through a surrogacy arrangement might be eligible
1 or 2 weeks’ Paternity Leave
Shared Parental Leave and Pay
• However, the employee may not get both leave and pay,
and there are rules on how to claim and when the leave
(ii) Eligibility for Paternity Leave
Part 2 Section 4 paragraph 2 of Paternity and
Adoption Leave Regulations 2002 stated that :
The person who taking time off to look after the child
is generally one of the following:
• the father
• the husband or partner of the mother (or adopter)
- this includes same-sex partners
• the child’s adopter
• the intended parent (if you’re having a baby
through a surrogacy arrangement)
• The person must:
be an employee and be employed up to the date of birth
earn at least £116 a week (before tax)
give the correct notice
have been continuously employed by the employer for at least
26 weeks up to any day in the ‘qualifying week’
# The ‘qualifying week’ is the 15th week before the baby is due.
can still get Paternity Leave or Pay if the baby is:
stillborn from 24 weeks of pregnancy
born alive at any point during the pregnancy
• Not eligible
The employer must tell you within 28 days if you do not qualify
and why using form SPP1.
• If the employer fails to inform employee the decision or
employee don’t agree with the employer’s decision on a
statutory payment –amount-, the employee can ask the
Revenue (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs or HMRC) to
make a decision on the entitlement.
• If the employer hasn’t paid employee then the employee
should write to the employer stating that will involve the
• If employer still refused to pay - within 6 month from which
SP is in dispute fail application to Revenue -Include decision
of the employer
• Revenue will negotiate with employer. If not working then
will issue formal decision. Employer can appeal against this
decision in Employment Tribunal (ET)
• If the employer fails to pay you a statutory payment, or
doesn’t pay employee enough, but admitted that the
employee are entitled to it, employee can also enforce their
rights at Employment Tribunal
(iii) Duration of Paternity Leave
• Employees can choose to take either 1 week or 2 consecutive weeks’
leave. The amount of time is the same even if they have more than one
child (for example twins).
• The leave must be taken in one go. A week is the same amount of days
that you normally work in a week - for example, a week is 2 days if you
only work on Mondays and Tuesdays.
• Leave cannot start before the birth. The start date must be one of the
the actual date of birth
an agreed number of days after the birth
an agreed number of days after the expected week of childbirth
Leave must finish within 56 days of the birth (or due date if the baby is
(B) Adopting and Surrogacy Arrangements
When adopting, one partner, if they qualify, can
take adoption leave as the main adopter and the other
may be entitled to paternity leave.
A period of paternity leave when adopting a child can
on the date of placement
an agreed number of days after the date of placement
on the date the child arrives in the UK or an agreed
number of days after (for overseas adoption)
the day the child is born or the day after for surrogate
In all adoptions, an employee will need to have taken
their Paternity Leave within 56 days of the placement
• Additional Paternity Leave
Employees can work up to 10 days during their
paternity leave. These days are called ‘keeping in
touch days’. (KIT)
Keeping in touch days are optional - both the
employee and employer need to agree to them.
The type of work and pay employees get should
be agreed before they come into work.
The employee’s right to additional paternity
leave and pay isn’t affected by taking keeping in
Employees who take time off may be entitled to either Statutory Paternity Pay or
Contractual Paternity Pay.
Statutory Paternity Pay
Statutory Paternity Pay will be payable if an employee has been:
working continuously for one company for at least 26 weeks ending with the
15th week before the expected week of childbirth
has an average weekly earnings at least equal to the lower earnings limit for
National Insurance contributions.
*Since April 2018 the rate has been £145.18 per week or 90 per cent of the
average weekly earnings, whichever is less. From 6th April 2019, the rate will
increase to £148.68 per week.
Contractual Paternity Pay
An employer may choose to offer a rate of pay which is higher than the
statutory rate. The amount and the length for which it is paid should be set out
in the terms and conditions of employment. Contractual paternity pay cannot
be lower than the statutory rate.
Shared Parental Leave and Pay
• Eligible parents can exchange part of their maternity or
adoption leave for Shared Parental Leave (SPL) . They can
then share this leave with each other in a way that best
suit their needs in caring for their child.
• Parents can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37
weeks of pay and choose to take the leave and pay in a
more flexible way
(each parent can take up to 3 blocks of leave, more if their
employer allows, interspersed with periods of work).
• Eligible parents can be off work together for up to 6
months or alternatively stagger their leave and pay so
that one of them is always at home with their baby in the
(iv) Job Security
• An employee has the right to not be treated less
favourably by their employer for taking, or proposing to
take, paternity leave.
• An employee’s employment rights like the right to pay,
holidays and returning to a job) are protected during
• This includes the right to: pay rises, build up (accrue)
holiday, return to work
• An employee also has the right to return to their own job
following a period of paternity leave and their terms and
conditions should remain the same.
• Annual leave continues to accrue during paternity leave
and an employee must be able to take this leave at some
point during their leave year.
Unfair treatment during, or because of, paternity leave
First, consider raising the issue informally.
Some issues can be resolved quickly through a conversation with a
line manager or other person within the business.
Second, if an informal approach does not work, an
employee has the option of raising a formal complaint
(also known as a grievance).
This should be done in writing and can make the employer aware
of how strongly the employee feels about the situation, while also
giving the employer the opportunity to resolve it.
As a last resort the employee could consider making a
complaint to an Employment Tribunal.
There is generally a three month time limit for bringing a claim to
Employment Tribunal. However this time limit can be paused if
Early Conciliation is taking place.
Atkins v Coyle Personnel  All ER (D) 108
• Employee alleged in employment tribunal that he had been
unfairly dismissed on account of his having taken paternity
• The tribunal dismissed his claim because the reason for his
dismissal had not been connected with his paternity leave.
• The reason for dismissal had been employer’s frustration, which
grew during a heated argument, following the employee's email
which had not accurately reflected his work situation.
• The employee appealed on the ground that the tribunal had
failed to make the necessary findings of fact to justify its
Held - The appeal was dismissed. When read as a whole, the
decision of the tribunal demonstrated that it had approached the
issues, the evidence and the law correctly. The instant case was
not one where it could be said that the conclusion of the tribunal
was one which no reasonable tribunal could have reached. Nor
had the tribunal failed to make any necessary findings of fact.
UK SINGAPORE MALAYSIA
Provided in law - ERA 1966 Part
VIII Chapter 3 Section 80A and
Paternity and Adoption Leave
Provided in law -
Child Development Co-Savings
Act (CDCA) (CHAPTER 38A)
Not provided in law –
only in PP Bil. 9 Tahun 2002
Not Automatic paid - apply
paternity leave & paternity pay
Automatic paid for 2 weeks Automatic paid for 7 days
Not extend to contract for service
Extend to contract for service (self
Not Extend to contract for
service (self employed)
1 or 2 weeks, either statutory or
2 weeks paid 1 weeks paid , another one
week opt and unpaid
Extra leave –
may share leave - Shared Parental
may share leave - Shared parental
No shared parental leave
5) Recommendation and
Ways forward – create family fund – based on
Two weeks - One weeks paid – one week unpaid
(voluntary) PL for Malaysian dads regardless public or
private servant– win win situation for both employer
and employee –
In my opinion, referred to Singapore instead of UK as
example. Because UK law is still in unsettle. The
current law has been criticized for gender pay gap in
employment leave and below the standard of social
protection for workers.