Dads’ hours fall as more mums work full time

Family of 4, 2 kids on their parents shoulders


Fathers in the UK are no longer working the longest hours in Europe, according to a study of 17 countries, according to a new report.

The report by the Modern Fatherhood project, which consist of NatCen Social Research, Thomas Coram Research Unit (TCRU, UCL) and the University of East Anglia (UEA), shows average working hours by dads has dropped from 46.1 hours a week in 2001 to 43 hours in 2013. This includes dads working part time.

Meanwhile, the report says the average working week for all British mothers, including those who work part-time, has increased from 26.8 to 29.1 hours in the same time period.

In 2013, the highest average weekly full-time working hours were found in Greece for both fathers (46 hours) and mothers (over 41 hours). UK fathers working full-time had the second longest hours on average (44.6), whereas full-time mothers worked on average 39.5 hours per week.

Three in 10 UK fathers regularly work over 48 hours per week, down from four in 10 in 2001. Greece now leads the EU in long working hours, with 40% of fathers working over 48 hours per week.

The research also found significant shifts in the working patterns of parents across Europe since the recession:

  • The proportion of UK households where both parents work full time increased from 26.4% in 2001 to 30.8% in 2013.
  • The proportion of UK households where neither parent work decreased from 6% in 2001 to 4.8% in 2013.
  • In the UK there has been a significant decline in the proportion of fathers doing shift work or working evenings or nights. The proportion of fathers who usually work at weekends has increased significantly while mothers’ weekend and shift work has remained the same.
  • In 16 of the 17 countries studied, the proportion of sole male breadwinner households decreased – only in Slovakia did the proportion increase.
  • In countries that were most affected by the recession, the proportion of workless households significantly increased. In Greece, for example, the proportion of workless households increased from 2.4% in 2001 to 9.9% in 2013.

Dr Svetlana Speight, Research Director at NatCen Social Research said: “This new data builds on what we already knew about modern fatherhood: that the sole male breadwinner model is in decline across Europe. Mothers are now more likely to work and, in the UK, more likely to work full-time, at the same time as fathers are working a shorter week, which allows them to take on more childcare responsibilities.”

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