Paternity policy

The Diocese of Oxford supports all office holders[1] who would like to exercise their right to take maternity, paternity, shared parental, adoption leave or time off to care for dependents.

It is our intent to provide a fair, consistent and effective application of these provisions.

[1] We will be using the collective term office holder to include clergy, training curates and lay licenced workers who hold the office under Common Tenure and thereafter in this document.

Jump to... Paternity leave | Paternity pay | Other rights

About this policy

We are looking to ensure that office holders are clear about entitlements to:

  • Paternity leave
  • Paternity pay
  • The process that should be followed for arranging leave.

The Diocese recognises and respects the rights of expectant and recent fathers/partners to take time away from their ministry in connection with the arrival of a new child.  No one will be subjected to a detriment for exercising this or seeking to do so.

This policy does not form part of the clergy Statement of Particulars. We may amend this policy at any time, at our discretion.

The Diocese follows the Archbishops’ Council guidance on policies to support clergy who become parents – which are more generous than the statutory provisions. The paternity leave section applies to all office holders whilst the paternity pay section applies only to stipendiary clergy who minister within the Diocese of Oxford.


The following key definitions are used in this policy:

  • Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC): the week, starting on a Sunday, in which the office holder’s doctor or midwife expects the birth to happen.
  • Enhanced Paternity Pay (Diocesan Enhanced Scheme).
  • SPP: Statutory Paternity Pay.

What is paternity leave and who is eligible to take it? 

Office holders and self-supporting ministers (SSMs) whose wife, civil partner, or partner gives birth to a child, are entitled to two weeks of paternity leave regardless of their length of service.  To be eligible for paternity leave you must:

  • have, or expect to have, responsibility for the child’s upbringing and be making the request to help care for the child or support the child’s mother.
  • take leave in a single block of one week, or two weeks, within eight weeks of the birth or adoption of the child.
  • comply with the notification requirements set out in this policy.

This entitlement also applies to adoptive parents when a child is matched or newly placed with them for adoption.  For further details, see the adoption leave policy.

Office holders are only entitled to take one period of paternity leave for up to two weeks irrespective of whether more than one child is born because of the same pregnancy.

Giving notice of intended leave

In all cases, we request that office holders who wish to take leave must notify the Payroll Officer ( as well as their supervising minister, Incumbent and/Archdeacon (in writing) at least 15 weeks before the EWC confirming:

  • The EWC date by providing the Payroll Officer ( with a certificate from their partner’s doctor or midwife (this will usually be on a MAT B1 form or
  • Whether they wish to take one or two weeks leave; and
  • When they would like paternity leave to start.

Stipendiary office holders need to complete and sign a self-certificate declaring entitlement to paternity leave.  This should be done using form SC3.

An office holder may change their mind about the commencement date provided they notify the Payroll Officer ( as well as their supervising minister, Incumbent and/Archdeacon (in writing) at least 28 days in advance, unless not reasonably practicable.

Paternity Pay[1]

includes Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) and diocesan Enhanced Paternity Pay (EPP)


The Diocese of Oxford operates an enhanced scheme where all stipendiary office holders (including curates in training) are entitled to paternity leave that is paid at full stipend irrespective of whether they qualify for Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) or have held office in the diocese for any length of time if they:

  • have given the correct notice as detailed above in point 4 - Giving notice of intended leave)

[1] For information, our diocesan enhanced paternity pay (EPP) supersedes the Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) provision therefore, there is no need to make you aware of SPP.

Other rights during paternity leave

Apart from stipend entitlements that are specified above, an office holder is entitled to the benefit of all their terms and conditions throughout their paternity leave period. This includes their right to their duties.  


Entitlement to paternity leave and pay is extended to anyone whose partner experiences a stillbirth, in or after, the 25th week of pregnancy.  

Office holders should contact their supervising minister, incumbent, and/or Archdeacon if their partner has a stillbirth or miscarriage in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. 

A period of sick leave and pay may be arranged as appropriate. Please refer to our sickness policy and procedure for more information. The normal rules for special/compassionate leave also apply.


this section is only relevant to ordinands

Ordinands in training have no legal entitlement to renumeration or pensionable service as they have a different legal status to office holders.  Ordinands who have been studying full-time are unlikely to be eligible for statutory benefits.[1] However, the Diocese of Oxford supports ordinands who become parents to complete their training and start their ministry.

Ordinands are either training for ordination on a part-time or full-time basis. Academic fees for part-time and full-time ordinands are paid for in full. Full-time ordinands may also be eligible to receive a means-tested maintenance grant in accordance with the national ministry team guidance.

Ordinands whose partner is pregnant are entitled to take paternity leave. In circumstances where an ordinand has completed their ordination training and has accepted a stipendiary title post within the Diocese of Oxford but is on or due to go on paternity leave, you will also be entitled to paternity leave that is paid at full stipend providing you follow the notification requirements.

[1] Ordinands (students) who have been working part-time may qualify for statutory maternity allowance or statutory maternity pay because of part-time employment.

Page last updated: Thursday 25th May 2023 4:18 PM
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