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
    Neil Thursday, 11 October 2018

    Self employed working for own limited company

    I am a self employed contractor working for my own limited company. Dismayed to learn that I might not be able to claim paternity pay. Seems very unfair as I pay corporation tax so I feel this should be something the government look at. It is a unique time in a persons life and it should be enhanced with a paltry two weeks of pay, rather than nothing, to soften the blow of loss of earnings.

  • Guest
    April Coop Thursday, 17 January 2019


    It's an absolute disgrace that self employed men don't get paternity pay/allowance. Something needs to change. My partner has been self employed for over 10 years and paid NI for the whole time, just as much as someone who has been employed. Why does he have to pay in if he doesn't have the same rights to claim back? It's looking like the opportunity for parenthood will pass us by as we simply can't afford the time off(two qualified professionals working full time).

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