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Dads are keen to work more flexibly, according to the latest research by Workingmums.co.uk, but many fear asking their employers due to outdated gender stereotypes and negative responses from managers.
A recent survey shows 73% of dads are considering seeking flexible working, but 72% fearing their employer’s reaction if they do.
One dad who works full time in IT support told Workingmums.co.uk that he has been turned down for more flexibility due to a presenteeism approach by management. He says: “Bosses need to change their attitude.
I can travel to our offices in the UK all week with no contact from a boss. Yet I can work one day from home and be phoned up by three different bosses.”
The dad, who doesn’t want to be name, has taken Shared Parental Leave, but says information about it was “hidden in the employee handbook”. He says: “I’m very much the trailblazer for my firm. None of the paperwork/processes were in place compared to my wife’s firm.
One of my bosses (male – no kids) hates the idea on several counts.” He feels he was discriminated against when he returned, missing out on a pay rise and possible promotion. However, he feels that he and his family gained hugely from the experience of taking SPL, despite being on the basic government allowance.
He says: “You’re not just sat there thinking – well, you’re just looking after the baby. And your wife isn’t sat there thinking you have just been at work all day. I think it pays dividends way beyond the time you have off.”
Another dad who is a senior security engineer, works 8.30am to 5pm, but can sometimes work much longer days and some nights and weekends.
He would like to work more flexibly, but doesn’t even feel he can ask because he feels the business would turn it down. He has two children under three and is also worried about losing money if he reduced his hours since his wife doesn’t work due to childcare costs.
He says: “Childcare is a huge issue. My wife cannot work as we only get 15 hours funding and that is after they turn three. For the first three years we have to pay for it and it just is not worth working and paying for.
Childcare subsidies needs to be full time from about nine months. And also finding a job to suit school hours is next to impossible.”
It’s not just employed dads who are frustrated. Jim is a self employed IT Technician with his own shop premises. He officially works from 10am – 5.30pm, but realistically his hours are more like 8am – 11pm. He says he could work more flexibly, but he has too much work to do to reduce his hours.
He would like to see better information regarding tax credits and better support and recognition for working dads. He says: “Mums tend to get the bulk of the support while dads tend to get left at the sidelines, despite having an equal share of the parental responsibilities.”