Self-employment 'main reason quarter of new fathers miss out on paternity leave'

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One in four new fathers are missing out on paternity leave and pay mainly because they are self-employed, a new study shows.

Research by the TUC found that of the 625,000 men who became fathers in 2016, more than 157,000 did not qualify for statutory paternity leave or pay.

The main reason was self-employment, although 44,000 fathers had not been working for their employer long enough.

The TUC said many low-paid fathers struggled to take time off anyway even if they qualified for the statutory payment of £140.98 a week.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "It's really important for 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, and for this to be a day-one right.

"When parents share caring responsibilities it helps strengthen relationships and makes it easier for mothers to continue their careers."