What if I’m self employed?

If you are employed, you have a legal right to paternity leave and pay, but it is not quite as simple if you are self-employed… 


Only employees with employment contracts are entitled to statutory paternity pay, but 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. 


This decision may be based on what you can afford, or your circumstances such as whether you have older children too, or if your partner has a difficult birth or Caesarean (meaning she needs extra support).

Then work out what you are going to need to live off, taking into account that your income may also be affected if your partner is on reduced pay while on maternity leave.

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

Find out why taking Paternity Leave is a good idea and worth the hassle of the extra effort to plan for it, at Why Paternity Leave Matters


Assuming you find out about the pregnancy in the second month, you'll have up to seven months to save.

Saving about 5% of your monthly income for each week of paternity leave you want to fund, is a good guide. 


It can be helpful to get some advice about if there are any benefits you will be able to claim. How much will you be able to claim in Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits? Are you eligible for Child Benefit? Can you claim the Sure Start Maternity Grant?

Don’t write off being entitled to get financial support, many families think they are not eligible, when in fact, most are!

Find out some of the basics with Dad Info at:

Child Benefit

Child Tax Credit



If you think it's unfair that there is no paternity pay for self-employed men, write to your MP. Admittedly, it won't help you right now, but it might help dads in the future, or possibly even help you if you have another baby one day!


Updated: September 2017

Hide comments (12)


  • 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.

    Reply Cancel
  • 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
    Jodie Rance Wednesday, 02 August 2017


    Hi hun did u find out if your partner was entitled to paternity pay if he worked for a company but is self employed as my partner is in the same situation and I can't seem to find any information out?

  • Guest
    Jo G Thursday, 31 August 2017

    Sorry but...

    It sounds to me that he is self employed So not eligible. Some employers ask their employees to register as self employed and charge their wages to the company as invoices. Unfortunately, it's a way to ensure that employers don't have to pay holiday pay, NI contributions, paternity pay, sick pay, pensions etc. So as far as the government are concerned, he's self employed.

  • 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

  • Guest
    Hugh Rashleigh Tuesday, 15 August 2017



    I have a unique situation. I am a self employed musician,

    I do there days teaching in a school a week. My daughter will be 26weeks in September and I am taking SPL from the school for the whole Christmas term. They are my main employer and that is all straight forward enough.

    However I fill in my own self assesment tax return as the other 1-2 days of work I do a week are freelance, e.g. Private students or gigs.

    I am trying to work out if I can keep teaching my private students during my Paternity Leave, with out jepodising my SPL income from school. This is only a few hours a weeks worth of teaching.


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