One in four new fathers are missing out on paternity leave and pay due to being self-employed, research by the TUC has found.
The unions communications body discovered that out of the 625,000 men who became fathers in 2016, more than 157,000 did not qualify for statutory paternity leave or pay.
Although this was mainly due to self-employment, some did not qualify as they had not worked for their employers for long enough.
TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady explained how important it is for new fathers to be given time off to spend with their new children.
She 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."
With statutory paternity payments currently £140.98 a week, many low-paid fathers struggle to take time off to spend with their young families.
However, in better news for working fathers, last week a Capita employee won a case against his employer after being refused full paternity leave rights.
Madasar Ali, a call centre worker, was told he would only get two full weeks of pay but a tribunal ruled that this decision contravened the Equality Act.
Under current parental leave rules, parents can share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of paternity and maternity pay.
HR Grapevine recently published report findings highlighting that many millenial fathers wanted to take less stressful roles to get involved with the upbringing of their children.