My employer says that paternity leave regulations don't apply to me because I'm not an employee and don't qualify for Ordinary Paternity Leave. Is this true?

It is certainly true that only employees are entitled to Ordinary Paternity Leave. You also need to be able to demonstrate a period of continuous employment – you must have worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (known as the 'qualifying week').

Some employers try to escape their legal obligations by falsely claiming that their staff are 'self-employed'. 

If the reality is that you are an employee, and have enough continuous service, you will be entitled to Ordinary Paternity Leave.

However, in practice, challenging your employment status on your own is likely to be very difficult.

Where you are one of a group of workers who all believe you are being wrongly classified as self-employed, tackling this issue collectively is likely to be more successful than trying to change things on your own. Bogus self-employment is a key campaigning issue for unions and there have been significant tribunal wins, making a difference to the lives of millions of workers.

Browse our Union Finder tool to find the union that is most suitable for you, and speak to a union official about the best way of going about achieving recognition of that union where you work, so that the union can negotiate better working conditions on your behalf.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.

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