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Employers need to consider better support for working dads

New research* commissioned by REC Parenting highlights that working dads need greater support in the workplace to successfully juggle all their responsibilities. Almost a third (32%) have considered leaving their job and 30% often feel overwhelmed by the demands placed on them at work and home.
  • 32% of working dads have considered leaving their job because they struggle with juggling work and caring responsibilities
  • 30% of working dads often feel overwhelmed with their work and caring responsibilities
  • 79% of working dads feel employers have a responsibility to support employees who are working parents
  • 90% of working dads think it is important that a prospective employer provides support for parents
  • 65% of working dads say if their child or children are having issues that it affects their performance at work

New research* highlights that working dads need greater support in the workplace to successfully juggle all their responsibilities. Almost a third (32%) have considered leaving their job because of the pressure of managing work and caring responsibilities and three in 10 often feel overwhelmed by the demands placed on them at work and home.

These findings illustrate just how much more active dads are in bringing up their children than previous generations. A study of fathers aged 25 to 40 found that 87% were closely involved in the day-to-day parenting of their children[1]. There is a strong desire to create a more even balance between home and work to enable dads to be around to support and guide their children. These results show that many are struggling to find the balance that they want.

While some forward-thinking employers are switching on to the idea of offering equal parental leave – around 80 organisations in the UK have introduced equal parental leave which gives fathers the (paid) opportunity to jointly care for their new child, with many more introducing enhanced periods of paternity leave – the majority of employers seem to be slow to realise the changing priorities of the fathers in their workforce. They seem particularly sluggish to recognise that a father’s responsibility extends beyond the first year of their child’s life.

A study last year by the TUC (Trade Union Congress) found that half of new fathers are having their requests for flexible working denied by employers[2]. The problem is particularly acute for those on incomes of less than £40,000, with two-thirds having their requests either partially or totally rejected. This inflexibility is likely to be adding to the feelings of stress and overwhelm highlighted in this research. The legislation changes coming up on 6 April will look to address this, but if the dial is to really shift, employer attitudes need to change.

Employee benefits packages also seem to be falling short of what working dads want. The REC Parenting research found just 14% said their employee benefits supported them very well and only 26% had some kind of parenting support included in their package. In the survey,  nine out of 10 working dads stated that support for parents was important when considering a prospective employer. This shows just how important it is for employers to think about working dads when reviewing their benefits and wellbeing strategies.

Dr Ana Aznar, Founder & CEO of REC Parenting, said “Fathers play an important role in the development of their children and research shows those with supportive and involved fathers are generally better adjusted. As a society, it is important we recognise the desire fathers have to spend more time actively bringing up their children and adjust how we work accordingly. Employers have a responsibility to understand the demands that all working parents face and support them effectively. Failing to do this could see more and more mothers and fathers exiting the workplace meaning valuable skills and talents are wasted.”

[1] How millennial fathers are changing their work patterns to help bring up their kids | London Evening Standard | Evening Standard

[2] Half of new fathers have requests for flexible working denied by employers, study finds | The Independent

*Commissioned by REC Parenting

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