The number of new fathers forced to go back to work due to poor paternity pay and leave is on the rise. As a result, mothers are staying at home longer, preventing the drive for gender equality. Working dads are being failed by the current workplace policies and MPs believe more needs to be done to keep up-to-date with the social changes.
MPs from the Women and Equalities Committee, have learnt that fathers want their childcare duties to be shared between themselves and the mothers. However, current policies aren’t supporting them. Newly fathers fear their employer’s reaction if they ask to work flexibly and this shouldn’t be the case.
Committee chair, Maria Miller, stated: “The evidence is clear – an increasing number of fathers want to take a more equal share of childcare when their children are young but current policies do not support them in doing so. There is a historical lack of support for men in this area, and negative cultural assumptions about gender roles persists”.
Males are forced to take lower paid or less demanding jobs so they can have access to flexibility. Also, it is reported that males who are casual or agency workers are least likely to gain flexible work as they don’t have full employment rights. This prevents them from working hours that suit their childcare needs.
Flexibly is widely accessible in higher paid jobs. Its important support is accessible to all males. Currently, flexibly is widely accessible in higher paid jobs rather than men who are paid less and who have less security. All males should be treated equally and how much a male earns shouldn’t have an impact on whether they can or can’t work flexibly.
MPs from the Women and Equalities Committee have created a new report with recommendations to help support new working fathers:
Another proposal made by MPs it to give fathers the right to have access to paternity leave from the first day they start working for an organisation. Mothers currently have this right therefore it should be the same for fathers. It is believed more than 25% of new fathers don’t qualify for paternity leave as they have only just started their employment.
All of these recommendations and proposals also help to support females because it is allowing them to return to the workplace. The government believes providing fathers with access to flexible working for childcare will help to reduce the gender pay gap. Gender equality in the workplace will also be improved once father’s employment rights are improved.
Flexible working arrangements give employees and employers a chance of new ways of working which can lead to increased productivity. It could also be the difference between an employee staying at work or looking elsewhere for a new job.
Men and women should both be treated equally by their employers therefore flexible working should be applied to both genders.
If you need any guidance or support regarding flexible working, please contact a member of the HPC team:
T: 0844 800 5932