Two in five new fathers will not qualify for shared parental leave

06 February 2015

According to analysis published by the TUC 40 per cent of new fathers won’t qualify for new rights to shared parental leave.

The TUC says that the analysis shows that two-fifths of working dads with a child under one would be ineligible, mainly because their partner is not in paid work. Mothers who don’t have a job (whether employed or self-employed) don’t have a right to maternity leave or pay that they can share.

The TUC says that it welcomes shared parental leave, but is concerned the new scheme will have a very limited impact because of the rules around eligibility and low statutory pay.

According to the government’s own projections as few as 5,700 men are expected to apply for shared parental leave over the next year.

The TUC estimates that shared parental leave would be open to around 200,000 more fathers each year if their rights to take leave weren’t dependent on the mother being in work and it was a day one right.

The UK is still decades behind other countries when it comes to rights and financial support for new dads, says the TUC.

In countries like Denmark, Norway and Portugal fathers can take paternity leave at 100 per cent of their normal earnings. And in countries like Sweden and Germany families are given extra money if fathers share parental leave more equally with their partner. By contrast, statutory paternity pay in the UK is just a quarter of the median weekly wage for full-time male employees and just over half the weekly wage for a worker earning the national minimum wage for a 40-hour week.

Half (50 per cent) of new dads don’t take their full entitlement to two weeks statutory paternity leave – a rate that rises to three in four (75 per cent) for dads on the lowest incomes.

The TUC says that without better rights to leave and pay, many fathers will continue to miss out on playing an active role in the first year of a child’s life. The TUC wants all new dads to have access to some parental leave that is not tied to their partner’s employment status and is well-paid.

Read more from the TUC.

The CIPP training department run a half day course filled with detailed information regarding Shared Parental Leave. Visit the CIPP website for dates and locations.