More and more fathers are missing out on paternity pay because they are self employed, new figures from the TUC suggest.
The research found that of the 625,000 men who became fathers in 2016, more than 157,000 did not qualify for statutory paternity pay because of their working arrangements.
The rise in those considering themselves to be self employed was the main reason, however 44,000 fathers had not been working for their employer long enough to qualify under government rules.
Statutory paternity pay for men amounts to just £140.98 a week, which the TUC claim, is too low for many low-paid fathers to be able to take any time off at all.
‘It’s really important for dads to be able to spend time at home with their families when they have a new baby,’ commented the general secretary of the Trades Union Congress Frances O’Grady.
‘But 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 want the government to increase statutory paternity pay to at least minimum wage levels.
They also want a paternity allowance to be established for fathers who are not eligible for statutory paternity pay.
This would be similar to the maternity allowance which can be claimed by self-employed mothers and mothers who have been with their employers for just a short time.