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Quarter of all new dads 'don't qualify' for paternity leave

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Chirgwin, Michaela
Publication Date: 
18 Jun 2018


There has been much campaigning over the past few years to get new dads to take paternity leave to support their partners and spend time with their new born child, but new research has revealed nearly a quarter of all new fathers aren’t able to claim paternity pay, simply because ‘they don’t qualify’.

A study by the TUC showed 23 per cent of new dads haven’t been able to claim paternity benefit over the past year, mainly because they are either self-employed, or because they haven’t been working for a company long enough.

It also found many low paid dads weren’t claiming paternity benefit as they can’t afford to take time off.

Only eight per cent of dads were shown to be taking shared parental leave, say the TUC.

TUC general secretary Frances O’ Grady said: “It’s so important for dads to be able to spend time at home with their families when they have a new baby. But tens of thousands of fathers are missing out on this special time because they don’t qualify for paid leave – or because they can’t afford to use their leave.”

Around 100,000 self-employed dads were unable to claim paternity pay over the past year.

Unlike self-employed mums who may be eligible for maternity allowance, dads who work for themselves don’t get a similar paternity allowance.

A further 41,000 dads didn’t get paternity pay because they hadn’t been working for their employer long enough.

Additionally, low income dads struggled to take paternity leave, as statutory paternity pay is only £145.18 a week, compared to £313.12 as a living wage for a 40-hour week.

UK paternity, maternity and shared parental pay are low compared to other EU countries, says the TUC, and they want the current paternity pay system to be reformed.

The union is calling for a right to statutory paternity pay and shared parental pay for all workers from day one in the job. They are also advocating that pay should be increased.

An overhaul in the shared parental leave and pay system has also been put forward, and a paternity allowance for dads who are not eligible for statutory paternity pay, similar to the maternity allowance some self-employed mothers can claim, has been suggested.

Mr O’Grady said: “We need a radical overhaul of family pay. The current system is too complicated, pays too little, and excludes too many workers. All dads should be entitled to paternity pay from day one in their job – regardless of what kind of contract they have.”

Entered Date: 
19 Jun 2018
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