One in four new fathers missed out on paternity pay over last year, says TUC

By agency reporter
June 17, 2018

One in four men who became fathers in the last year didn’t qualify for paternity pay, according to new Trades Union Congress (TUC) analysis published for Fathers’ Day on 17 June 2018.

From April 2017 to March 2018, there were just under 620,000 working fathers around the UK with a child under one. However, nearly a quarter of them (23 per cent) – more than140,000 new fathers – did not qualify for the up to two weeks’ statutory paternity pay.

They missed out for two main reasons:

  • They are self-employed: This stopped just under 100,000 working dads getting any statutory paternity pay. Unlike self-employed mothers who may be eligible for maternity allowance, fathers who work for themselves don’t get a similar paternity allowance. Many of these may be ‘bogus self-employed’ – a tactic used by bad employers to deny staff basic rights at work.
  • They have not been in the job long enough: Around 41,000 fathers didn’t get paternity pay because they had not 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 pay.

Recently there has been a lot of interest in shared parental leave and how to get fathers to share more leave with mothers. (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/26115) The TUC fully supports this but the reality is that less than eight per cent of fathers are taking shared parental leave and, until the system is radically changed, most fathers will be relying on paternity pay in these crucial first weeks.

The TUC is concerned that so many new fathers are missing out on paternity pay, and forfeit the chance to spend valuable time at home with their partners and babies because they cannot afford the time off work.

Many low-paid fathers also struggle to take the time off because statutory paternity pay is just £145.18 a week. This is less than half what someone earning the living wage would earn over a 40-hour week (£313.12). UK paternity, maternity and shared parental pay are low compared to other EU countries, says the TUC.

The 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.

“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.

“All working parents should join a union. Unionised workplaces offer better work-life balance arrangements – like homeworking or flexitime – and are more likely to offer better pay and leave plus more financial help with childcare.”

* Trades Union Congress https://www.tuc.org.uk/

[Ekk/6]

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