It suggests that men with dependants are less likely to be employed if they ask for flexible working hours as opposed to women


Working fathers with young children should have 12 weeks of paternity leave, paid time to attend antenatal appointments and flexible working hours – according to proposals made by a UK parliamentary committee.

The recent Fathers and the Workplace report by the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee says workplace policies are still failing to make sure working fathers have the same guidelines as working mothers.

It suggests that men with dependants are less likely to be employed if they ask for flexible working hours as opposed to women.

Also, women with children are above three-and-a-half times as likely to be working part-time as men with children.

At present, men can take up to one or two weeks of paid paternity leave, with only two unpaid antenatal appointments.

The report, authored by a cross-party committee of 12 MPs, said: “The Government must reform workplace policies to support fathers to better balance their parental responsibilities and work, and to ensure they meet the needs of the 21st century family.

“Fathers in particular want to be supported at work to take a more equal share of childcare when children are young.”

Flexible working

Key recommendations of Fathers and the Workplace report

  • Working fathers should have the right to be paid when attending antenatal appointments and the Government should consider if it’s plausible to have more than just the two days for appointments as it currently stands.
  • The Government should put in legislation for all jobs to be advertised as flexible
  • The Government should alsoharmonise workplace rights for fathers who are agency workers or self-employed with employed fathers where practical
  • Paternity pay should be paid at 90 per cent of the father’s pay to support all working fathers, regardless of their annual income.
  • Fathers of newborns should be able to have the 12 weeks’ dedicated paternity leave in place of shared parental leave

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What do businesses say about flexible working policies?

Although 96 per cent of employers say they offer a level of flexible working hours, research completed by Timewise Foundation – a community interest company that helps people seeking flexible work – shows that only 9.8 per cent of jobs paying more than £20,000 full-time equivalent are advertised as being open to some kind of flexibility.

Employers’ group the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) advised the committee that that if a company feels a job can be done flexibly, it should advertise it in that way from the beginning.

Flexible working
Working fathers need the opportunity for flexible working too, the report says

Management specialist firm Alexander Mann Solutions director of diversity and inclusion Paul Modley said businesses are not encouraging flexibility across the workforce.

He believes that not taking action on this matter is having a negative impact on employees in the work place and it can also discourage skilled workers to apply for roles advertised.

Mr Modley said: “Regardless of age, gender or level of seniority, individuals are increasingly seeking to work in a way which fits with their wider lifestyle and commitments.

“Employers who fail to respond to this desire risk missing out on the skills and experience of a huge proportion of the working population.

“While the recommendations in this report are designed with fathers in mind, the benefits of promoting working options which appeal to a wider pool of available talent should not be underestimated.”