Employers need to acknowledge the growing business case for doing more to support dads, according to a new e-book from Workingmums.co.uk.
The Working Dads e-book on dads highlights best practice and includes case studies of dads who work flexibly as well as a checklist for what companies can do to better support dads.
It states that, although the current take-up of Shared Parental Leave is fairly low and the legislation has a lot of critics, it has provided a new impetus for companies regarding how to include dads more in debates around childcare and work life balance.
It says that, despite low take-up of SPL, polls show significant interest in it. Workingmums.co.uk’s annual survey, for instance, showed 38% of parents said they would consider asking for it.
It adds: “What is noteworthy is that the interest in it, if the polls are to be believed, is much higher than take-up. What is also interesting is the debate the legislation has opened up about the relative absence of dads in the whole childcare/work life balance debate despite many surveys showing they are keen to have more time with their families, with younger dads even more keen than their middle aged counterparts.”
The e-book says SPL has led many of the most progressive organisations to start collecting more data on employees who are dads. It states that they had a lot of information on working mums because of support provided for maternity leave, concerns about retention post maternity leave and women’s networks set up to enable women’s career progression. They had very little, if any, information on dads and what they wanted.
This is set against fast-changing gender dynamics at work with more and more mums now working, many of them full time. This among other factors, the e-books says, has brought a renewed focus on issues of equality in the workplace.
In the meantime, polls show that dads – particularly younger ones – want to spend more time with their families, but face a range of challenges from financial ones to difficulties in challenging stereotypes around flexible working. The e-book says: “A combination of peer pressure, employer pressure and social expectations allied with outdated ideas that flexible workers are less committed and have effectively abandoned career progression can make it hard to negotiate for a work pattern outside the standard full time one.”
It adds: “Supporting parents to have a greater choice over how they organise work and family life will make for more motivated, happier, more loyal employees and will be a win win for both employees and employers.”