Around one in four new fathers did not qualify for paternity pay last year, according to analysis by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
Figures from the Office for National Statistic’s Labour Force Survey 2017/18 revealed there were just under 620,000 working fathers with a child under one.
However, 23 percent did not qualify for two weeks’ paid paternity leave. This was predominately because just under 100,000 were self-employed and around 41,000 had not been in their role for long enough.
Frances O’Grady, general secretary of TUC, 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.”
The union highlighted that many fathers also forfeit their leave because they cannot afford to take the time off work. At £145.18 a week, statutory paternity pay is less than half what someone earning the living wage would earn over a 40-hour week (£313.12).
It argued that paternity, maternity and shared parental pay was low compared to other European countries.
O’Grady added: “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.”