Father’s day is a day of honouring fatherhood and paternal bonds, as well as the influence of fathers in society. Father’s day is celebrated this year on Sunday 21st June.
Fathers as a whole are much more involved in raising their children than they have historically been before. Previously it was normally mothers that had to cope with juggling demands of work and home life. Research shows that 58% of fathers are now fully involved in their child’s upbringing and 29% mostly involved.
The government in their election manifesto recognised the changes in father’s roles and made pledges to:
- Encourage flexible working;
- Enable parents to take extended leave for neonatal care;
- To make it easier for fathers to take paternity leave;
- Funding more childcare before and after school and during holidays;
- Extend leave entitlement for unpaid carers.
40% of fathers have requested flexible working, with 44% of these requests being unsuccessful.
Research done on males between the ages of 24-40 found that 58% involved in day to day parenting would like more flexibility at work, with 63% of these requesting a change to their work patterns since having a child.
Only 56% of fathers believe that they are treated equally to mothers, as many say they have experienced tension from their employers and colleagues when they have tried to balance work and family life. They also report no one tends to ask a new father how they are feeling at work, which can leave them feeling isolated or alone.
Such pressures have a negative impact on working fathers. According to research by an online support service for working parents, fathers are more likely to seek mental health support than mothers. They suggest many men struggle to balance work and home life following the birth of a child.
Fathers are known to not feel comfortable asking about parental leave with their employees and they feel that their work schedules prevent them from doing as much of the childcare as they would like to. Fathers also feel that there is a stigma around new dads taking time off work to care for their children.
What can employers do
Employers need to be proactive in promoting employees parental leave rights to fathers. Some employers do not share information with their employees about shared parental leave unless an employee asks about it and only 1 in 10 fathers have taken shared parental leave since it was introduced in 2015.
Companies should ensure they are fair and consistent when dealing with flexible working requests from fathers. Employers who allow flexible working and have a positive approach to flexibility can be more versatile, resilient, and responsive to change. They can adapt to unexpected demands in the workplace, sudden surges in work or an unpredictable event, such as a cybersecurity breach, a financial crash or the coronavirus outbreak we are currently experiencing.
In 2019 several employers enhanced leave and pay entitlement for fathers to encourage more men to take more time with their family and to improve gender equality in their business. This showed progress to reflect the dynamics of fathers now having a more equalised parenting role.
- Standard Life Aberdeen offered 52 weeks of parental leave, with 40 of these at full pay regardless of gender.
- Diageo offered both men and women 52 weeks leave with the first 26 weeks’ full pay.
- O2 increased their paternity leave for all permanent employees to 14 weeks.
If you would like further information on Flexible Working or assistance with updating or creating a flexible working policy or reviewing of parental leave policies, please contact Clover HR on 0121 516 0299 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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