An analysis carried out by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has found that more than 157,000 new dads are 'missing out' on paternity leave and pay.
During 2016, there were 625,000 working dads in the UK with a child aged under one. The TUC's analysis revealed that 25% of such fathers did not qualify for statutory paternity leave and pay. Under the current rules, eligible new fathers are permitted up to two weeks of paid paternity leave.
The analysis found that the main reason for this is that many were self-employed. Self-employed fathers don't receive a paternity allowance, whereas self-employed mothers are entitled to receive a maternity allowance.
The TUC is calling for the government to provide new fathers with a right to statutory paternity leave from day one, increased paternity pay, dedicated leave and a paternity allowance for fathers who are not eligible for statutory paternity pay.
Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the TUC, commented: 'It’s really important for new dads to be able to spend time at home with their families when they have a new baby.
'But too many fathers are missing out because they don't qualify – or because they can't afford to use their leave.
'We'd like to see all dads being given a right to longer, better-paid leave when a child is born.'