All partners, spouses and expectant non-birth parents who are employees have a legal right to unpaid time off work for up to two antenatal appointments.
In order to be eligible, the person taking the leave must be either the biological father of the child, the mother’s husband/civil partner, the mother’s live-in partner or an intended parent in the case of surrogacy.
The right is available to employees from the start of employment and to agency workers who have worked in the same job for at least 12 weeks.
Time off may be taken on up to 2 occasions. For each occasion, a maximum of 6.5 hours off may be taken.
The right is to unpaid time off, unlike the right to paid time off for antenatal care for pregnant women.
An employer can ask for a declaration beforehand, but is not entitled to require evidence of the antenatal appointment. The declaration can be given electronically (see below for a sample).
An employee cannot be dismissed or treated worse for taking or asking for the time off. If an employer unreasonably refuses the time off, the employee can apply to a Tribunal for a declaration and compensation equivalent to twice what the employee would have been paid had the time off not been refused. If this happens to you, you should seek advice.
In addition, all partners/husbands/expectant fathers who are employees have the legal right to a reasonable amount of unpaid Time Off for Dependants if their “dependant” is ill, injured or gives birth. The definition of “dependant” can include your wife, partner, someone living with you as part of your family, and someone who reasonably relies on you for help.
- I am the father of the expected child or the birth mother’s husband/civil partner or the birth mother’s live-in partner or an intended surrogate parent of the expected child.
- I am taking time off work in order that I may accompany the birth mother when she attends an appointment for the purpose of receiving ante-natal care.
- The appointment in question has been made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, registered midwife or registered nurse.
- The date of the appointment is________________________. The time of the appointment is ________________.
This information applies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you live elsewhere in the UK please ring our helpline for advice.
If you have further questions and would like to contact our advice team please use our advice contact form below or call us.