A quarter of new dads are missing out on paternity leave and pay, says TUC
As many UK families will be enjoying Father’s Day today, some sobering analysis published today by the TUC found that one in four men who became fathers in 2016 didn’t qualify for paternity leave or pay.
In 2016 there were around 625,000 working dads around the UK with a child under one. However, a quarter of them (25%) – more than 157,000 new fathers – did not qualify for the up to two weeks’ statutory paternity leave and statutory paternity pay.
Unlike self employed Mums, there is no paternity allowance for self-employed Dads
The main reason Dads are unable to take paternity leave is that they are self-employed – this affected nearly 113,000 working dads in 2016. Unlike self-employed mums who are eligible for a maternity allowance, dads who work for themselves don’t get a similar paternity allowance.
And another 44,000 dads didn’t get paid paternity leave or pay because they hadn’t been working for their employer for long enough. The law requires employees to have at least six months’ service with their current employer by the 15th week before the baby is due to qualify for paternity leave.
Statutory paternity pay is too low and not all partners can afford to take time off
The TUC is concerned that so many dads are missing out on the chance to spend valuable time at home with their partners and babies because they cannot afford to.
Many low-paid fathers struggle to take the time off because statutory paternity pay is just £140.98 a week. This is less than half what someone earning the minimum wage would earn over a 40-hour week (£300).
‘Paternity leave strengthens relationships and makes it easier for mothers to have a career’
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“It’s really important for dads to be able to spend time at home with their families when they have a new baby. Too many fathers are missing out because they don’t qualify– or because they can’t afford to use their leave.
“We’d like to see all dads being given a right to longer, better-paid leave when a child is born. And for this to be a day one right.
“When parents share caring responsibilities it helps strengthen relationships – and makes it easier for mothers to continue their careers.”
The TUC believes the government should give new fathers:
- A right to statutory paternity leave for all workers from day one in the job, in the same way that maternity leave is a day one right.
- Increased paternity pay.
- Increased statutory paternity pay – to at least minimum wage levels.
- A paternity allowance for dads who are not eligible for statutory paternity pay, similar to the maternity allowance which self-employed mothers and mothers who haven’t been with their employers long enough can claim.
- Dedicated leave for dads. Government should introduce an additional month of well-paid parental leave and reserve it for fathers only to use.