The Trades Union Congress has reported that one in four men who became fathers in 2016 did not quality for paternity leave or pay. Out of 624,398 working fathers around the UK with a child under one, 157,551 new fathers did not qualify for the (up to) two weeks’ statutory paternity leave and pay either because they were self-employed (112,819) or had less than the required minimum service (6 months’ with their current employer by the 15th week before the baby is due) to qualify (44,732).
There is a growing concern that as a result many fathers are missing out on spending time with their families at a very crucial time.
The TUC is calling for better paternity pay and leave for fathers and partners.
Their proposals include:
- A right to statutory paternity leave for all workers from day one in the job. This would abolish the 6 month qualifying period and would bring the right to paternity leave in line with maternity leave as a day one right.
- Increased paternity pay to at least minimum wage levels.
- A paternity allowance for dads who are not eligible for statutory paternity pay. This would be similar to the maternity allowance which self-employed mothers and mothers who haven’t been with their employers long enough can claim.
- Dedicated leave for dads which would provide an additional month of well-paid parental leave reserved for fathers only.