Fathers To Miss Out On Paternity Leave Says TUC Report

Trade Union Says 40% Are Ineligible Due To Rules About Partners Needing To Work

06.02.2015

David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094

A new report by the TUC states that two out of five new fathers will not qualify for new shared parental leave rights.

The TUC has welcomed the reforms but said that the impact will be limited. It says that 40% of new fathers with a child under the age of one would be ineligible, mainly because their partner did not have a paid job.

It also predicted that shared parental leave would be open to around 200,000 more fathers each year if their rights to take leave were not dependent on the mother being in work.

The new family friendly laws are designed to encourage flexible working arrangements and allow working parents of babies due to be born after 5th April 2015 to share maternity leave and pay with their partner.

The rules, which also apply to working families who are adopting children, are an additional option available for families who can continue to access 52 weeks of maternity leave and 39 weeks of pay.

TUC's General secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Shared parental leave is a welcome move but just a small step towards getting dads more involved in their children's upbringing.

"The UK is still decades behind other European countries when it comes to rights and financial support for new fathers.

"If politicians are serious about men playing a more active role after their child is born, they must increase statutory paternity pay and look at introducing some father-only leave that isn't dependent on their partner being in work.

"Employers must also work more closely with unions, who often secure better paternity rights for dads."

Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson said: "Around 285,000 working couples can take Shared Parental Leave for babies due from  5 April 2015.

“Parents and adoptive couples where one has been employed for at least the last six months and the other is, or has recently been, employed or self-employed are eligible under the current scheme.”

"I'm delighted that the TUC is so supportive of Shared Parental Leave coming into force that they want to see it extended further. We look forward to working with them to help drive uptake and support the behaviour change that countries like Norway and Denmark have already seen."