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What if I’m self employed?

Employees can get paternity leave and pay. What can the self-employed do to take time off when their baby is born?

Only employees with employment contracts are entitled to statutory paternity pay. There is no equivalent for self-employed dads to claim.

So if you are self-employed you are going to have to plan ahead to have time off at the birth of your baby.

How much time to have off

This decision may be based on what you can afford, or you might need to take longer off to look after older children or if your partner is going to have a Caesarean (in which case she'll need a lot of support from you)

Then work out what you are going to need to live off. Remember there will be extra expenses, like parking fees at the hospital, and that your partner will be on reduced pay if she is on maternity leave.

The sooner you start to put money away the less you will have to put away each week.

How much to save

You can obviously take time off your work when the baby is born - you are your own boss. There is a way to fund your paternity leave...

Assuming you find out about the pregnancy in the second month, you'll have seven months to save. We recommend you save about five per cent of your monthly income for each week you want to fund.

Other sources of money

Get some advice about what benefits you will be able to claim. How much will you be able to claim in tax credits? Can you claim the Sure Start Maternity Grant?

Working Families - What to claim for a new child fact sheet explains about benefits you can get when you have a new baby.

Nothing for the self employed? Not happy? Complain!

If you think it's unfair that there is no paternity pay for self-employed men, write to your MP. It won't help you now, but it might help dads in the future.

Paternity leave - how long and how much?

Paternity leave - who's eligible and how do I get it?

Author

Catherine Rogan has worked for Working Families' advice service for four years.

Dad Partners

Family Matters Institute Dept. for Education Step Change Children's Legal Centre
DWP National Family Mediation CMEC Memset
OneplusOne CMO