One in four men who became dads last year didn’t qualify for paid paternity leave, according to new TUC analysis published on Fathers’ Day.
From January to December 2018, there were 580,000 working dads in the UK with a child under one. However, nearly a quarter of them (23%) – around 133,000 new fathers – did not qualify for the up to two weeks’ statutory paid paternity leave.
These dads missed out on spending time with their new baby for two main reasons:
They’ve not been in the job long enough: Around 42,000 dads didn’t get paid paternity leave 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.
They are self-employed: This stopped around 91,500 working dads getting any statutory paternity pay to take paternity leave. Unlike self-employed mums who may be eligible for a maternity allowance, dads who work for themselves don’t get paternity pay.
Many more dads may not qualify because they don’t earn enough or are in an insecure job. To qualify for paid paternity leave you need to earn at least £118 a week, and be classified as an ‘employee’. Workers in some forms of insecure work will therefore miss out.
And the TUC is also concerned that many dads who do qualify for statutory paternity leave struggle to take the time off because the pay is just £148.68 a week. This is less than half what someone earning the living wage would earn over a 40-hour week (£328.40).
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“Paternity leave needs an overhaul. The current system is too complicated, excludes too many new dads and is not an option for a lot of working families.
“Ministers should give dads longer, better-paid paternity leave. And all dads should be entitled to paid paternity leave from their first day in their job – regardless of what kind of contract they have.”