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?


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

Hide comments (7)


  • Guest
    Rob G Tuesday, 26 July 2016

    This seems outrageously unfair to me. I have been paying taxes to the Government as a self employed person for years. Why will the Government pay statutory paternity pay to someone who is employed, but not to someone who is self employed, even though their income is taxed by the Government in exactly the same way.

  • Guest
    D Smith Monday, 15 August 2016

    Mr Smith

    I'm with Rob G on this
    HMRC/ N insurance should have enough to make even a small contribution back to working Dads who's self employed, It's not scrounging when you have paid into the pot .
    Some guys are sub contractors and have to work like hell to get a decent pay packet.

  • Guest
    Claire Sunday, 28 August 2016


    I agree - my husband is setting up a business so welive off my income we have paid tax all ourlife - we can't save money so he can have time off. and I will not be able to afford to take much time off either

  • Guest
    stacey Friday, 27 January 2017


    I agree completely. My partner has been self employed for the past 4 years, paying his taxes and national insurance. I work full time also. Im due to have our baby in May 2017 and its going to be really hard for him to have time off to spend with us as he wont earn if he does not work...

    I find this really upsetting as even though he pays his taxes and national insurance, there is nothing that the government will do even to pay a basic rate for a week - Seems they are happy to take the money, but for them to pay a small proportion of it back is a no no. yet there is money being spent on other benefits and scroungers... don't even get me started on that!!!

    I really think this is unfair to all those dads and families that need to have this extra help/boost.

  • Guest
    Kylei Monday, 13 March 2017

    Self employed but working for a company


    I just wondered if anyone has any info. My boyfriend is employed by a company but on a self employed basis. He gets weekly wages but pays his own NI. He doesn't get paid for any days he takes off.

    He doesn't make any money on the side as a self employed worker, so technically he cant be classed as self employed.

    Anyway, I was wondering if he would be entitled to paternity pay? I have tried searching online but when I put in 'Self employed' it automatically suggests he owns his own company, which he doesn't.

    Any help/ advice would be greatly appreciated.


  • Guest
    Karol Sunday, 07 May 2017


    This is how the UK Government take care of us. They take care about money. People just a numbers for them. This is discrymination.

  • Guest
    Dave Monday, 29 May 2017

    Self employed civil engineer

    I am a self employed civil engineer (ground work) my twins arrived on 25th of may 17 5lb5 each exactly, it could be because most self employed people earn below the max before tax is eligible and 70%of self employed workers get all there tax back if you earn less than there required amount due from 05April IM STILL WAITING. Like I havnt got enough to pay out TWINS

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Guest Thursday, 20 July 2017