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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 today (Sunday).

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 today (Sunday). 

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: 

  1. 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. 

  1. 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.” 

Editors note

- For details of who is eligible for statutory paternity pay and leave please visit: www.gov.uk/paternity-pay-leave/eligibility 
 

- The TUC believes the government should give new fathers: 

  1. A right to statutory paternity pay and shared parental pay for all workers from day one in the job, not just employees. Just as we want to see all mums entitled to statutory maternity pay from day one. 

  1. Increased paternity pay. The TUC wants the government to increase statutory paternity pay (as well as maternity pay and shared parental pay) to at least living wage levels (£8.21 an hour). 

  1. A paternity allowance for dads who are not eligible for statutory paternity pay, similar to the maternity allowance some self-employed mothers can claim.  

  1. A shared parental leave and pay system that works. The TUC welcomes the government’s review of shared parental leave. If the government is serious about supporting more dads to take a greater role in childcare then a simpler system, greater flexibility, higher rates of shared parental pay and greater incentives for parents to share parental leave are vital. 

- Working fathers with a child under one: 

Average from Labour Force Survey, Jan-Dec 2018 

Total fathers in paid work with a child under one 

580,016 

Fathers with a child under one who are self-employed 

91,532 

Fathers in employment with a child under one with less than 6 months service in current job 

41,909 

Total number of fathers in paid work with a child under one who don‘t qualify for paternity leave 

133,441 

% fathers in paid work with a child under one who don‘t qualify for paternity leave 

23% 

Source: Labour Force Survey, 2018 

- Statutory paternity pay is £148.68 a week, or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is less: www.gov.uk/guidance/rates-and-thresholds-for-employers-2018-to-2019#statutory-maternity-paternity-adoption-and-shared-parental-pay  

- The adult rate of the living wage is £8.21 an hour. Someone on that wage working a 40-hour week would earn £328.40. 

- The TUC’s Leave and pay for fathers and partners leaflet is available at www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/TUC%20KYR_Paternity_LO%20%28spreads%29.pdf 

- The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 49 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.