Paternity leave: Dads are missing out

Dads are missing out on paternity leave and pay according to findings published on Father’s Day by the Trade Unions Congress (TUC).  As much as a quarter of new dads are in fact missing out.

The analysis reveals that more than 157,000 new fathers did not qualify for two weeks’ paternity leave and pay last year.

Statutory paternity pay is currently £140.98 or 90% of average weekly earnings (whichever is lower). Leave can’t start before the birth and must end within 56 days of the birth. One or two weeks’ leave can be taken, and leave must be taken in one go. To claim, you must tell your employer at least 15 weeks before the week the baby is expected: the baby’s due date: when you want the leave to start; and if you wish to take one or two weeks’ leave.


One of the main reasons for dads missing out is because of being self-employed. Unlike self-employed mums who are eligible for a maternity allowance, dads who work for themselves don’t get an equivalent paternity allowance.

Another factor is that dads only get the leave and pay if they’ve worked for their employer continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth.

The TUC has urged the government to take various steps, including increasing paternity pay .

With nothing though in the Tory manifesto on paternity rights, don’t expect changes any time soon.

If you have any queries relating to paternity rights or need advice on other employment law issues please call 0203 797 1264.